As India prepares to unveil what would become one of the largest global vaccination drives for treating the COVID-19 pandemic from January 16, the opposition leader has now demanded Prime Minister Narendra Modi to get the first dose of the vaccine to clear the fears and concerns from the people.
Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, who is also the National Spokesperson of the Nationalist Congress Party, has kept the demand to the Prime Minister to receive the first vaccine before the frontline workers. Releasing a video message, Malik said people have some doubts about the COVID-19 vaccination drive and the Prime Minister should get himself inoculated first to allay their concerns.
By citing that the vaccination drive will cover the frontline workers at the first phase, the NCP leader said that people have some doubts in their minds about it and there is a need to create confidence among people. Therefore, the Prime Minister should begin the drive by vaccinating himself first, which will help clear the fears and concerns in the minds of people. According to reports, India is all set to steer the vaccination drive to slay the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India had given approval for 'Covishield', the vaccine of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, and 'Covaxin' developed by Hyderabad based Bharat Biotech for emergency use amid objections from the oppositions and health experts over the lack of the efficacy data of the vaccines. The Central government has recently announced that the vaccination drive will begin on January 16. With just five ahead to commence the drive, all the state governments are preparing for the significant drive.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that the Center will bear the expenses for the first-phase vaccination of around three crore health workers and frontline staff. According to reports, the Central government has ordered 11 million doses of SII's Covishield at Rs 200 each. Following the order, the SII has begun dispatching the vaccines around the country from Tuesday. The vaccines were deployed from the SII's facility in Pune, Maharashtra under tight security.
The Maharashtra government has decided to provide police security to the trucks carrying the vaccine to the airports and to the borders of the state. The SII official said that about 300 GPS-fitted trucks will be used and while 500 trucks will be roped in as per the requirement. The reports say that the first 100 million doses will be priced at Rs 200 each and initially, SII will be delivering 11 million doses initially. Earlier, speaking to a news agency, SII Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla said that the vaccine would be priced at about Rs 1,000 per dose when it hit the private market in the country.
The vaccines from airlifted from Pune on Tuesday and have reached various cities including Delhi and Chennai following which the doses will be taken under the control of the state government. The doses will be stored under tight security and measures to cover the target of vaccinating all the frontline workers across the country. However, Prime Minister Modi, while interacting with the Chief Ministers on Monday, said that public representatives and politicians won't be part of the three-crore frontline workers, who will be getting vaccinated at the first phase.