Manish Kumar, a 33-year-old sanitation worker at Delhi's AIIMS, today became the first person in the country to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Healthcare worker Dhawal Dwivedi was the second person to be inoculated, followed by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and NITI Aayog's senior member, Dr VK Paul.
"I had a very nice experience. I was not reluctant to get the vaccine shot...people need not be worried. Now I don't have any doubts regarding the vaccine. Everyone must get inoculated," he was quoted by news agency ANI as saying.
"Many people were scared about getting vaccinated but I volunteered for it. I told officials that I want to be the first to take the jab...I did not experience any side effects," he told NDTV.
Mr Kumar has been working at AIIMS for eight years. He said the last few months has been difficult because of the coronavirus pandemic but he reported to work every day.
"Several of my family members, including my mother, are also part of the AIIMS nursing and sanitation staff," he said.
His colleague, Shaukat Ali, 37, told NDTV: "I was initially hesitant, but inspired by his courage, I also got vaccinated".
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was also present at the vaccination event which began after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's biggest inoculation drive virtually.
"These vaccines are our 'sanjivini' (live-saving drug) in our fight against the pandemic. We have won the battle against polio and now we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against Covid. I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day," the minister said.
The country's drug regulator has approved Covishield, a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and homegrown Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech, for emergency use.
The centre, in the first phase of the drive, aims to inoculate the three-crore healthcare and other frontline workers of the country.
Some 3,000 sites across all states and union territories are vaccinating health workers; around 100 people will be vaccinated per session.
"Those who need it (vaccine) the most will be vaccinated first - healthcare workers like doctors, nurses in private and government hospitals will be the priority. After that, those in essential services, those responsible for security and law," PM Modi, while addressing the nation today after launching the vaccine drive, said.
He also warned people against ignoring the second dose of the vaccines.