- India is among countries racing to produce vaccine as infections surge
- PM Modi also announced a National Digital Health Mission
- This year's celebration was held under severe curbs amid pandemic
Three coronavirus vaccines are at different stages of testing in India and the government has a plan to ensure that a vaccine, when approved, reaches every Indian, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today, addressing the nation on its 74th Independence Day, held in the shadow of the COVID-19 fight.
PM Modi also announced a National Digital Health Mission to boost the health care system, and said every citizen would be given a health ID.
"Three vaccines are in different stages of testing. When scientists give the go-ahead, we are ready with a plan for production. How the vaccine will reach every Indian in the least amount of time - we have a roadmap ready for that," the Prime Minister said.
India is among the countries racing to produce a vaccine as virus infections surge across the country. Bharat Biotech International, an unlisted vaccine maker, received regulatory approval to start human clinical trials from the Indian Council of Medical Research. Zydus Cadila and Serum Institute of India are also testing vaccines.
On the national digital health mission, PM Modi said: "Every Indian will get a Health ID card. Every time you visit a doctor or a pharmacy, everything will be logged in this health card in your profile on a national scale. From the doctor's appointment to the medication advised, everything will be available in your health profile."
PM Modi delivered his seventh consecutive Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, where every invitee wore a mask.
This year's celebration was held under severe restrictions because of the virus fight. Schoolchildren were not present and there were fewer invitees. Guests were seated at least six feet apart and distancing was also observed during the military drills.
The Prime Minister began his speech with a tribute to those fighting the virus. "We are passing through strange times. Today, I don't see children here at the Red Fort because of the pandemic we are facing. On behalf of the entire nation, I want to thank all corona-warriors. All those healthcare workers, doctors and nurses, who have worked tirelessly to serve the nation," said the Prime Minister.
"In this corona crisis, many families have been affected, many have lost their lives. I know, with the resolve of 130 crore Indians, we will defeat this crisis," PM Modi said.