'I'm doing this not as a minister': TN Health Minister Vijayabaskar reveals why he took COVID19 vaccine!

With the view of sowing faith and instilling confidence among people and healthcare workers amid the concerns over COVID-19 vaccines, Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar has on Friday taken a jab of COVID-19 vaccine, becoming India's first health minister to receive the vaccine after the country has launched the largest vaccination drive with the target of vaccinating three crore frontline health care workers in its first phase. 

Vijayabaskar has received a shot of Covaxin, one of the indigenous vaccines, developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. He took the vaccine on Friday in Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai in the presence of health authorities and doctors. Through taking a jab amid concerns over the efficacy of the vaccines, the Tamil Nadu Health Minister has set a significant precedent and he has got vaccinated days after Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan received the dose of Covaxin in Trichy. 

Earlier, both of them had asserted that they would take the vaccine to allay fears and concerns among the public. While the first phase of the vaccination drive was rolled out with the target of covering three crore health care workers with Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealing to the ministers and politicians to get vaccinated during the second phase, Vijayabaskar has on Wednesday said that he would be receiving the vaccine on Friday in a capacity as a doctor and as a member of the Indian Medical Association (IMA). 

He put out his decision on Wednesday and said, "There was hesitation initially, but we have overcome it. That's the reason I will be taking the vaccine on Friday at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, not as a minister but as a doctor and a member of IMA". As announced, Vijayabaskar has taken a shot of Covaxin on Friday in Chennai and after the vaccination, he addressed the reporters over his decision of getting vaccinated. 

He said, "I took the Covaxin vaccine to sow faith and instill confidence among the people and healthcare workers. So far, 907 people have received Covaxin in Tamil Nadu and I have become the 908th person to receive the jab of Covaxin. People needn't be more reluctant to take the vaccine". By taking vaccination in his bid to allay fears amid concerns, Vijayabaskar appealed to everyone not to spread rumors. Before taking the vaccine, he took to Twitter and said, "I will be taking the Covid vaccine shot at 9 am at RGGGH. I am doing this as a doctor and member of IMA, to instill confidence among Health care workers. I request all to get vaccinated and safeguard themselves from COVID19". 

Following the shot, Vijayabaskar released a video of him receiving the vaccine and said, "I got my Covaxin shot! Thanks to the team of RGGGH for the seamless experience. Appeal everyone to do it when your turn comes. Let's end COVID19 together". Tamil Nadu had already received 5.36 lakh Covishield vaccines and 20,000 Covaxin doses. Totally, the state has received 5.56 lakh Covishild and Covaxin vaccines in the first consignment and the state has received another consignment of 5,85,000 Covishield vaccines last Wednesday.