Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today said that up to 30 crore Indians would be inoculated against COVID-19 by August 2021 according to the central government's plans. However, he also reiterated the need to follow appropriate protocols to fight off the disease.
Distributing masks and soaps at the Old Delhi Railway Station today, the minister, who is also Chairman of the Indian Red Cross Society, said the vaccine will be available before the middle of next year in India.
"In the first 3-4 months of next year, there is a possibility we will be able to provide vaccine to the people of the country. By July-August, we have a plan to provide vaccines to around 25-30 crore people and we are preparing accordingly," Mr Vardhan told reporters here.
"I would like to request everyone to remember and follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour like wearing masks and following social distancing. These are important for health," he said.
He reminded that even as the country heads for its 12th month in the battle against the disease, the key to ensure personal protection remained the same: hygiene and social distancing. "In the fight against COVID, our biggest weapon is the mask and the sanitiser," he said.
He highlighted that India had one of the highest recovery rates in the whole world. From one laboratory in January 2020, the country now has 2,165, while over a million people were being tested on a daily basis.
India's coronavirus tally breached the 94-lakh mark after 38,772 new infections reported in the past 24 hours, government data showed on Monday. With 443 new deaths, the cumulative toll mounted to 1,37,139.