'Beginning of end of Covid-19 pandemic': Health minister on vaccination drive
Vardhan also asked people to trust the indigenously manufactured vaccine as the government has "given emergency use approval after scientific scrutiny."
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday described the beginning of the vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as the end of the pandemic as authorities across the country are all set to inoculate healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase from Saturday. Vardhan also asked people to trust the indigenously manufactured vaccine as the government has "given emergency use approval after scientific scrutiny."
"India is set to begin the world's biggest vaccination drive tomorrow. This is the beginning of the end of Covid. Both indigenously manufactured vaccines given emergency use approval after scientific scrutiny," he said, according to news agency ANI.
Vardhan will participate in the vaccine rollout at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). He will visit the new outpatient department (OPD) wing of the hospital to join the doctors and potential vaccine beneficiaries. The drive will be virtually launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at 10:30am.
In a statement on Thursday, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that more than 3,000 sites across all states and Union territories (UTs) will be virtually connected when Prime Minister Modi launches the drive.
In the coming phases, people above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 270 million will be inoculated. The central government has introduced an application named Co-WIN, short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work, to monitor the entire vaccination process.
Two vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield, have received the emergency use authorisation (EAU) after going through established safety and immunogenicity in a well-prescribed regulatory process and these will be administered during the vaccination drive.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus infections continued to drop in India as the daily number of cases remained under 20,000. At the peak of the outbreak, the number of daily infections had surpassed 95,000. As of Friday morning, the country has 10.52 million confirmed cases of Covid-19. In addition, the death toll stood at 151,198.
However, India is the second worst-hit country by the Covid-19 after the United States.