Covid-19: India vaccine drive off to a good start

Reuters
Reuters

New Delhi - The government has readied tens of thousands of refrigeration tools and about 150,000 specially trained staff to try and overcome some of those challenges.



By Agencies

Published: Sat 16 Jan 2021, 11:03 PM

India kicked off the world’s largest coronavirus vaccination drive on Saturday as the global Covid-19 deaths surged past two million.

The first dose was administered to a sanitation worker at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in the capital New Delhi after Prime Minister Narendra Modi kickstarted the campaign with a nationally televised speech.

“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” Modi said. He implored citizens to keep their guard up and not to believe any “rumours about the safety of the vaccines.”

The government has given approvals to two vaccines aiming to inoculate around 300 million people by July. Authorities say they are drawing on their experience with elections and child immunisation programmes for the drive, which is a daunting task in an enormous, impoverished nation with often shoddy transport infrastructure.

The government has readied tens of thousands of refrigeration tools and about 150,000 specially trained staff to try and overcome some of those challenges.

The vaccines will also have high security, so that doses do not end up being sold on India’s large black market for medicines.

For workers who have pulled India’s battered healthcare system through the pandemic, the shots offered confidence that life can start returning to normal.


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