Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday stated that the launch of the immunisation drive was a "historic and a memorable day", further adding that India became 'aatmanirbhar' (self-dependent) in their fight against COVID-19.

"India becomes 'aatmanirbhar' (self-reliant) in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccines made in India being rolled out. Greatly appreciate the inspiring leadership of PM Narendra Modi which made it happen. Vande Mataram," Prasad posted on Twitter.

"A proud moment as PM Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest vaccine drive against COVID-19. 1st phase to start with healthcare workers, both in govt & private sectors including ICDS workers. Adequate doses of both COVISHIELD & COVAXIN will protect citizens from this pandemic," he added.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday (January 16) launched India's coronavirus vaccination drive via video conference. 

Addressing the nation on this big occasion, the prime minister said, "Everyone was waiting for this day with bated breath. Everyone kept asking when will the vaccine come. It’s here and in a short span of time. In some minutes from now, the world’s biggest vaccination drive is to begin."

The world's largest vaccination programme in India will take place in all the states and union territories across the length and breadth of the country.

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive will cover three crore healthcare and frontline workers, as they are getting vaccinated first in this drive. The vaccine is provided free of cost for this targeted phase.

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier approved the Serum Institute of India's Covishield (developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca) and Bharat Biotech's indigenously developed Covaxin for restricted emergency use, which has led to the vaccination drive.

DCGI on January 3 had granted restricted emergency use authorisation to the Serum Institute of India (SII)'s 'Covishield' and Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' vaccine.

Covishield is over 70 percent effective, while Covaxin is currently in the Phase 3 trials but is "safe and provides a robust immune response", the drug regulator had said.





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