Prime Minister Narendra Modi early on March 1 morning took the first shot of COVAXIN, the Indian-researched and produced COVID-19 vaccine (produced by Bharat Biotech) at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.

With this, PM Modi kick-started the new phase of the coronavirus vaccination drive in India. India will expand its vaccination program from Monday to cover people over 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities amid a growing number of more contagious virus strains and a squirt in cases.

Tweeting a picture of himself getting a shot, Prime Minister Modi said:”Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Noteworthy how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!”

Sources said no special route was laid out for the Prime Minister and the lack of traffic early morning was used to ensure that the visit did not cause inconvenience for Delhi commuters.

Almost as soon as PM Modi made the announcement, many on Twitter praised his move because Twitterati believe that this will remove doubts in the minds of people about the efficacy of vaccines.

The government hopes to vaccinate 30 crore people by August in this second phase. India has reported the second-highest number of cases after the United States at 1.1 crore. Cases have hobnailed in recent days in states like Maharashtra, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Punjab.


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Joydev Mishra

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