As the second phase of nationwide vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease started on Monday, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the Opposition parties not to indulge in politics over vaccine and unite in the efforts against fighting COVID-19.
"It is a matter of great assurance that today, when turn of people above 60 years came, the Prime Minister in the most unassuming manner went to AIIMS at 7 am to take the vaccine and lead from the front. I want to tell the opposition parties that you will have enough opportunities to do politics in elections and otherwise, can we not unite in efforts against Corona?" Mr Prasad said while speaking to ANI.
"Modi ji had clearly said that our COVID-19 warriors would be vaccinated first, and then us. To those who were questioning him, he has replied, "I was waiting for my turn". We ministers have decided to avail of paid vaccination facility," he added.
Earlier on Monday morning, Prime Minister Modi took the first dose of Covaxin, India's homegrown coronavirus vaccine developed by biotechnology firm Bharat Biotech and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).Soon after receiving the first dose of the vaccine at AIIMS Delhi, he tweeted, "Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS."
"Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19," he added.
As India is helping its neighbouring countries and others amid the pandemic by providing COVID-19 vaccines, Mr Prasad asserted that it is significant that the vaccine developed by India is being recognised, appreciated and sought by many countries and not just by our neighbours.
He added that the vaccines are meant for all Indians, beyond political, regional, and ethnic divide.
The COVID-19 vaccines - Covaxin and Covishield, were made available to the general public from today.