Prime Minister Narendra Modi on early Monday morning took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as the nation goes into the second phase of vaccination drive against the pandemic.
PM Modi tweeted after he took the vaccine at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi , and made an appeal to all the eligible people to take the vaccine, stating, “Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!”
The second phase
The prime minister being administered the COVID-19 vaccine will be a big boost to the vaccination drive as there has been a sense of hesitancy by the general public in taking the jab.
From March 1, the government will begin the second phase of the vaccination, which will now be open to the general public. In the first phase, priority groups like healthcare professionals, police forces, and other frontline forces engaged in public services were given the vaccine.
In the second phase, citizens in the age group between 45 and 60 with comorbidities will be administered the vaccine. The aim is to cover a total of 30 crore priority population.
Unlike earlier, when the entire process was handled by the government machinery, the second phase will see the involvement of the private sector.
The government has already selected several private hospitals for administering this vaccine and it has capped the price at Rs 250 per shot.
In the first phase of the vaccination drive around, 1.43 crore people were given the injection.
These developments come in the backdrop of rising COVID-19 cases in India, with many fearing the rise of a second wave. States like Maharashtra and Kerala continue to report high incidence of cases. However, experts believe the second wave is unlikely to be as severe as the first wave.