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PM Modi launches India's COVID vaccination programme; experts discuss the road ahead

Updated : January 16, 2021 07:43 PM IST

Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially kick-started India's vaccination drive - the largest immunisation programme in the history of the world.

Quoting poets like Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Telugu poet Gurajada Venkata Apparao, PM Modi congratulated the healthcare and frontline workers who took the fight against COVID head on. He also thanked the scientific community who helped develop vaccines in India on such a short time.

Around 3 crore frontline workers would be inoculated in the first phase, the cost of which would be borne by the centre. Over 3,000 vaccine centres would be targeting at inoculating 100 beneficiaries each on day one.

The drug regulator so far has approved Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for emergency use. The target is to inoculate around 3 lakh beneficiaries on day one across the country.

Prime Minister Modi also threw his weight behind the vaccines, he said only after the scientific community was convinced did we approve the two vaccines. He also added that people should stay clear of misinformation and false news on Indian vaccines also highlighting that COVID vaccines in India are the most affordable.

Serum Institute's Covishield is priced Rs 210 and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin is priced Rs 309 in the government procurement.

Prime Minister also highlighted that even as vaccines are rolled out COVID precaution protocols need to be followed and both doses of vaccine are important.

To discuss the road ahead for the vaccination programme, Archana Shukla and Ekta Batra spoke to Dr. Sangita Reddy, joint MS at Apollo Hospitals; Dr. Bishnu Panigrahi, group head of medical strategy at Fortis Healthcare; Dr. Shivkumar Utture, president of Maharashtra Medical Council and Dr. NK Arora of ICMR.

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