- He cited PM's "strict instruction" that health workers should be first
- Yesterday, the minister had said he would take the first shot
- He wanted to instill confidence among people who still had apprehensions
Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender, who had declared he would take the first vaccine shot, did not do so today citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "strict instruction" that health workers should be first in line.
"It is important to follow the Prime Minister's instructions. I am a minister and it is my duty to follow the PM's instructions and prioritise health workers,'' Mr Rajender said.
Yesterday, the minister had said he would take the first shot to instill confidence among people who still had apprehensions on safety of the vaccines.
But a sanitation worker, Krishnamma, became the first in Telangana to get the Covid vaccine. "I appeal to all to go ahead and take the vaccine. I was also a little apprehensive but doctors reassured me and the health minister too told me not to worry. I so far have no symptoms," she said, holding flowers given by Gandhi Hospital, where she received the jab.
On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly told Chief Ministers at a meeting on vaccine preps that politicians should not jump the queue and must wait their turn even if they were only trying to inspire confidence.
The Prime Minister's warning came after the Haryana government requested that public representatives like MPs and MLAs be included in the first phase of vaccination.
Health ministers of Bihar and Odisha also reportedly demanded that public representatives from panchayats to Parliament be considered frontline workers and be vaccinated.
In the government's priority list for the first round, health workers and frontline workers like the police, civil defence personnel and sanitation workers are on top.
Other high risk groups, including people above 50 and those who have co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension, come next.
A sanitation worker at Delhi's AIIMS was the first person in the country to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.