New Delhi, Jan 16 (IANS): As India on Saturday launched a massive vaccination drive in the fight against Covid-19, beginning with healthcare workers, the staff at major private hospitals hailed the first inoculation, saying it marks the turning of the tide in the battle against the virus.
At the Apollo Vaccination Centre in Chennai, the vaccine was first administered to the healthcare workers at the Covid frontlines beginning with Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, who received the first shot.
“The launch of the vaccination drive is a critical event, as the last few months have seen a second wave of infections sending many countries in Europe into a fresh series of lockdowns, and a vaccine is the need of the hour to prevent and reduce new infections,” Reddy said in a statement.
“For India, this is a landmark moment as the vaccines are being manufactured in the country itself, with one a product of indigenous R&D,” he added.
The Apollo Vaccination Centre is one of the 3000 sites across the country selected to vaccinate over three lakh healthcare workers on the first day of the national vaccination drive.
The Tamil Nadu government had received 5,56,500 doses of the Covid-19 vaccines including 536,500 doses of Covishield and 20,000 doses of Covaxin for Saturday’s vaccination drive held at 307 locations across the state.
“If someone gets a chance to get the vaccine shot, they must get the vaccination done. Scientists have worked hard for the vaccine and people must go for vaccination,” said Atul N.C. Peters, Director – Bariatric, Minimal Access & General Surgery, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.
The health experts have hailed the vaccination drive and said that they have prepared the teams accordingly to take care of the vaccination sites.
“We prepared our team accordingly to take care of the vaccination sites. Government officials gave us some guidelines on how to prepare for the vaccination site and we worked on all those,” said Sahar Qureshi, Medical Superintendent, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.
Currently, India is banking on two vaccines – Serum Institute of India’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat BioTech’s ‘Covaxin’ — with four more in the pipeline, according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
So far, the government has procured 1.1 crore ‘Covishield’ and 55 lakh ‘Covaxin’ vaccines at a cost of Rs 200 and Rs 206 per dose, respectively.