Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan today received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, a day after the second phase of the mega vaccination drive against the virus began in India. Dr Vardhan received his jab of the indigenous Covaxin in front of cameras at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. His wife Nutan Goel too was vaccinated.
The minister and wife paid Rs. 250 each, the capped fee for Covid vaccine shot at private institutes.
As per protocol, they were kept under observation for 30 minutes after the inoculation. "Me and my wife...neither of us have experienced any side-effects so far," he told reporters. "I appeal to all those who are above 60 and above 45 with comorbidities. Please go ahead and get vaccinated either at government or private hospitals."
He said the vaccines will prove to be "sanjeevani for all of us", referring to the mythological plant that is believed to have powers to cure all diseases.
The second phase of the vaccination drive, for those over 60 years of age and for people aged 45 with illnesses, began yesterday. Among other key names that got vaccinated today are Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur and National Conference MP Farooq Abdullah in Srinagar.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first beneficiary in the second phase, as he took a dose of Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early Monday morning.
As of 9:30am today, there have been 39 lakh registrations on the Co-Win portal, he said. Over 29 lakh people had registered - online or via the Aarogya Setu app - by 8.30 pm on Monday, the Health Minister had told NDTV. He also indicated that the actual number could be as much as a crore, because each individual who registered could add up to four others. He also urged people to keep their guard up despite the rollout of the vaccines.
Dr Vardhan said the Union Health Secretary and the chief of the Co-Win app will meet states today to address issues related to glitches on the app on Monday due to the high volume of people who were trying to register at the same time. A similar meeting was held before the launch of the app.
Registration and booking for appointment for COVID-19 vaccination is to be done through www.cowin.gov.in and the Aarogya Setu app and there will be walk-in vaccinations in some places as well. India began its vaccination drive on January 16 intending to inoculate three crore frontline workers but has struggled with hesitancy, giving out some 1.43 crore shots so far.