Chennai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the country’s vaccination drive against Covid-19.
Speaking on the occasion, he thanked scientists for developing the vaccines in less than a year.
He warned people against ignoring the second dose of vaccines. He appealed to the masses to continue following the anti-Covid norms. “Dawaai bhi, kadai bhi (Yes to vaccine, yes to caution),” he said.
He asserted that the made-in-India vaccines being rolled out will ensure a ‘decisive victory’ for the country over the coronavirus pandemic.
During his speech, Modi turned emotional as he spoke of the disruption the pandemic caused to people’s lives, isolating victims of the coronavirus and denying the dead traditional last rites.
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.
He also urged the country to show patience during the vaccination drive as it had shown till now in fighting the pandemic.
“The start of vaccination does not mean stopping following coronavirus norms of social distancing and wearing masks,” he said.
Modi added: “Janata Curfew was a test of our patience. It prepared the country for a lockdown. By clanging utensils and lighting diyas, we kept our morale high.”
Normally, it takes years to make a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two ‘Made in India’ vaccines are ready, Modi said, adding work on other vaccines is also progressing at a fast pace.
He added that India getting two vaccines in such a short time is a testimony to the talent and skills of the nation’s scientists.
According to Modi, our vaccination programme is driven by humanitarian concerns, those exposed to maximum risk will get priority.
The Prime Minister said that scientists and experts have given permission for emergency use of the made-in-India vaccines only after being absolutely sure of their safety and the people should be aware of any propaganda and rumours.
“We have set an example for the world. When some countries left their people in China amid the pandemic, India brought back people under the Vande Bharat mission – not only our citizens but also those of other countries,” he said.
He added: “It is my request to you: don’t make the mistake of taking off the mask and not maintaining social distance after getting the first dose of vaccine because immunity develops only after the second dose.”