- BJP leader Mahesh Sharma was vaccinated as a healthcare worker
- A Trinamool Congress MLA was vaccinated as part of patients' welfare body
- The Centre has prepared a priority list for first phase of vaccination
Becoming among the first lawmakers in India to get inoculated for the COVID-19 infection, BJP leader Mahesh Sharma, the MP from Uttar Pradesh's Gautam Buddh Nagar, was vaccinated for the coronavirus on Saturday as a healthcare worker.
Dr Sharma, who is also a trained doctor, got vaccinated at 11 am at a hospital in Noida Sector 27, a spokesperson told news agency PTI as the mammoth nationwide vaccination drive was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this morning.
The 61-year-old former union minister was then kept under observation for 30 minutes at the hospital.
"The beginning of the end for COVID-19 has started today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the world's largest vaccination campaign. As a doctor, I have also got vaccinated for coronavirus. I am feeling absolutely fine. The vaccine is completely safe and all of you should get vaccinated," Dr Sharma tweeted in Hindi.
Rabindranath Chatterjee, a Trinamool Congress MLA in West Bengal's Katwa in Purba Bardhaman district, was also vaccinated being part of a patients' welfare committee, authorities said.
With the demand for vaccines far outstripping the supply, there has been keen interest in seeing who is allowed to get inoculated in early days of the vaccination drive.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at a meeting with state Chief Ministers on Monday ahead of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, underscored that politicians should not jump queue to take the vaccine but wait for their turn, sources told NDTV.
The government has prepared a priority list of for the first phase of vaccination, which is headed by one crore health workers and two crore frontline workers like the police, civil defence personnel and sanitation workers, for whom the vaccines will be free.
The other high-risk groups -- people above the age of 50 years and those below it who have co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension -- will be vaccinated next. The government hopes to vaccinate 30 crore people by July.
PM Modi's instruction prompted Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender, who had declared he would take the first vaccine shot in his state, to say that he was not going to do so, making way for healthcare workers.