- Those above 50 and people with comorbidities will take shots in phase 2
- PM Modi launched the massive vaccination drive on January 16
- Healthcare workers, frontline workers received shots in phase 1
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be vaccinated in the second phase of the Covid inoculation drive launched last week, sources said today. All Chief Ministers, MPs and MLAs above 50 will also receive vaccines.
The vaccine drive was launched on January 16 with healthcare workers and others at the frontline of the coronavirus fight receiving jabs of two vaccines - Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Many states are struggling to meet targets and hesitancy to take vaccines and the fear of side effects are seen to be part of the reason.
In the second phase, it is the turn of those above 50 and people with comorbidities to take shots.
In his meeting with Chief Ministers before the drive, PM Modi had said they did not need to panic or rush to get vaccinated as they would get their turn in the second round.
Chief Ministers of states like Haryana, Bihar and Telangana had reportedly suggested that MLAs, MPs and other public representatives should be considered frontline workers and be vaccinated.
The PM strictly warned anyone against jumping the queue.
But days into what is billed as the world's biggest vaccination drive, those coming forward to get shots are far short of targets.
NITI Aayog member VK Paul, who heads a government committee on vaccine strategy, said health workers who failed to take vaccine doses meant for them were not fulfilling their "societal responsibility".
Please understand the whole world is clamouring for vaccines. If our healthcare workers, our doctors and nurses, if they are declining to take it, I feel sorry. I plead with them, on behalf of the government, because we don't know what shape this pandemic will take going forward," Mr Paul was quoted as saying by news agency Reuters.
The government has reported hospitalisation from side effects in only 0.002% of vaccine recipients. "Adverse events" have been reported in 0.18 per cent of recipients.
Tackling concerns over Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, which is still in Phase 3 clinical trials, the government stressed that both vaccines were safe.