New Delhi (India): The fight against Coronavirus is on the road to victory, said Union Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday while hailing the launch of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination, adding that the country has a robust system for the immunization process.
“The fight against COVID-19 is already on its road to victory. This moment gives all of us immense satisfaction and as health minister of the country, I would like to pay tribute to all those who have contributed to the success of this fight,” Vardhan told reporters after overseeing the launch at Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched India’s vaccination drive against the novel coronavirus via video conferencing.
A total of 3,006 session sites across all States and Union Territories were virtually connected during the launch. Around 100 beneficiaries are scheduled to vaccinated at each session site on an inaugural day.
Billed as the world’s largest vaccination program, covering the entire length and breadth of the country, the drive aims to first inoculate millions of its healthcare and frontline workers and reach an estimated 3 crore people by the end of its first phase.
“This is probably the biggest immunization campaign anywhere in the world. India has tremendous experience in handling such issues. We have already eradicated smallpox and polio. In the last five months, we have put in place a very robust structure for vaccination,” the union health minister added.
Lakhs of workers, even in the remotest corners of the country, have been trained for the exercise and the dry run across the country was conducted to make sure that even the slightest glitch in the mechanism can be corrected, he added.
Vardhan further said that he considers journalists in the category of COVID warriors for taking risks and reporting correct information ground zero back to the people.
Inoculating a large country like India remains a daunting task, which according to some observers, might take months to be completed.
“According to calculations made in collaboration with vaccine manufacturers, we estimate that we should be able to have enough doses which will be adequate to vaccinate 30 crore people,” the minister said.
Meanwhile, several Chief Ministers attended the launch of the vaccination drive at government hospitals in their respective states.
The drug regulatory body of India has currently approved two vaccines. Pune-based Serum Institute of India has developed the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, whereas the Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Medical Council of research and National Institute of Virology.
According to the Union Health Ministry, the full initial procurement amount of 1.65 crore doses of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines against Covid-19 have been allocated to all States/UTs in the proportion of the Health Care Workers database.