Coronavirus News LIVE Updates: More than one crore cases and 1.5 lakh fatalities later, India took its first steps out of the pandemic with shots of the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines being administered at medical centres across the country
Coronavirus News LATEST Updates: Of the 1.91 lakh beneficiaries administered COVID-19 vaccine shots on the first day of the countrywide vaccination drive, the highest number of inoculations were carried out in Uttar Pradesh with 21291 people taking the jab, reports PTI.
The total number of Adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) post- COVID-19 vaccine in Delhi stands at 52 out of which only one is severe, said the Delhi Government on Saturday.
A total of 1,91,181 beneficiaries were vaccinated on the first day of India’s coronavirus vaccination drive as the country kickstarted its inoculation campaign with two locally manufactured shots, the Union health ministry said on Saturday. The first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the campaign with a nationally televised speech
India on Sunday reported 15,144 fresh COVID-19 infections with 181 fatalities pushing the country’s caseload to 1,05,57,985, toll now at 1,52,274.
Loud applause and cheers rang out as the first jabs were administered to frontline workers at hospitals and healthcare centres across the country on Saturday at the start of the gargantuan COVID-19 vaccination exercise, hailed as a momentous occasion in India’s fight against the pandemic.
“This is the beginning of the final war,” said Dr Naveen Thacker, a paediatrician and member of the Gujarat government’s task force on coronavirus , after receiving the first vaccine in the state.
Vaccination rooms were decorated with flowers and balloons, the first beneficiaries were welcomed with ‘aarti’, garlands and sweets, and people posed with victory signs after receiving the shots as a sense of hope prevailed over the months of anxiety and uncertainty as well as any apprehensions about the vaccines.
Doctors, nurses, sanitation workers and eminent functionaries were among the nearly two lakh people who received the shots on the first day of the biggest COVID-19 vaccination drive in the world at 3,351 session sites, which were visited by chief ministers, ministers and senior officials.
For many health workers like Jalpa Gandhi, a nurse at the Ahmedabad civil hospital, there was finally some comfort as they recalled the difficult months spent during the coronavirus pandemic with gnawing fears that they may catch the virus while at work.
“I feel relieved after the vaccination. I wore PPE kits when attending to patients, but there was always this apprehension that I might get infected, said Gandhi who has been on COVID- 19 duty’ from March 22, 2020, when the first coronavirus patient in the state was admitted to the civil hospital.
Political leaders, experts and prominent people from all walks of life urged the people not to believe in any misleading claims.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders hailed the corona warriors and remembered those who lost their lives in the pandemic since January last year.
Striking an emotional chord, Modi spoke of the disruption the pandemic had caused to people’s lives, isolating victims of the coronavirus and denying the dead traditional last rites.
The country has so far reported 1.05 crore COVID-19 cases and 1,52,093 deaths.
In a choked voice, the prime minister also referred to sacrifices made by healthcare and frontline workers, hundreds of whom lost their lives to the viral infection.
“Our vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns, those exposed to maximum risk will get priority,” the prime minister said, while noting that young and old in every household have had the same question for some time as to when will the coronavirus vaccine arrive.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said it was an epoch-making moment for India that will take us closer to ending this pandemic.
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, became the first person in the national capital to be administered a COVID-19 vaccine during the launch of the drive at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the presence of Vardhan.
As people around applauded, AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria also received a shot of the vaccine followed by NITI Aayog member V K Paul.
Kumar, who works at the AIIMS along with his mother Laxmi Rani, said he was not at all nervous and was “proud of getting the vaccine”.
Vardhan said the two vaccines were a ‘sanjivani’, life infusing, in the fight against the pandemic.
“We have won the battle against polio and now we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against COVID. I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day,” he told reporters shortly after the vaccine shots were administered.
Volunteers were given chocolates, cakes and juices after the shots at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality hospital (RGSSH) in Delhi.
At Mumbai’s Cooper Hospital, dozens of health workers clapped and cheered the “vaccine carrier” staff who were given a traditional welcome with aarti’.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar compared the fight against COVID-19 to the last Test match against Australia, saying there were “lots of ups and downs” but the frontline warriors took many blows and ensured that the team wouldn’t collapse.
Taking to Twitter, Bollywood celebrities applauded the scientists and doctors for their achievement. “#LargestVaccineDrive Thanks to all the scientists and Doctors and Health care workers Thanks @narendramodi,” veteran actor-politician Paresh Rawal tweeted.
“Bravo India! Congratulations to Indian authorities, medical & health teams for starting off the massive Covid vaccination drive. Forever grateful to our frontline heroes who have been risking their lives this past year to save others,” actor Priyanka Chopra said.
The two vaccines being administered are Covishield, developed by Oxford University and British-Swedish company AstraZeneca and manufactured by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), and Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad.
SII CEO Adar Poonawalla shared on Twitter a video of receiving the jab.
Raja Chowdhury, a Group D staff at the state-run SSKM Hospital in Kolkata, was given the first dose of Covishield in West Bengal as the inoculation exercise started in the presence of Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim, an official said.
“Today I feel so relieved after receiving the vaccine. It’s a lifetime experience and I will tell everyone about it. All these months, I have seen what this disease can do to a family, how dreams have been shattered,” Chowdhury told PTI.
Asha Pawar (55), who receives the vaccine at Maharaja Yeshwantrao (MY) Hospital in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, said she had no apprehensions about the safety of the vaccine and hoped that it will prove helpful in saving lives.
“There was an atmosphere of fear during the outbreak of the epidemic in Indore. But now, after getting this vaccine, I have no fear and I feel very good,” said Pawar and flashed the victory sign.
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