New Delhi: Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today appealed the medical community and the frontline workers through the media to come forward and take the COVID vaccine. This comes on the day the country crossed a major landmark as more than 1 crore vaccine doses were administered to the healthcare and frontline workers. The country’s nationwide COVID19 vaccination drive was launched by the Prime Minister on 16th January 2021.
The Union Health Minister appealed to all the doctors, nurses, paramedic workers, and the frontline workers like the anganwadi workers, police personnel, revenue officials etc. “I humbly and strongly appeal to all healthcare and frontline workers to come forward to take the vaccine.Let us all work together to fight against COVID-19. The world is not free of the disease. It is only with our collective effort that we shall overcome this public health challenge.”
Hailing the achievement as a significant milestone in the fight against the global pandemic, Dr. Harsh Vardhan noted that, “India tookonly 34 days to achieve the landmark feat of 1,01,88,007 vaccinations, the second fastest in the world.We have organized more than 2.11 lakh sessions (2,11,462 sessions);62,60,242healthcareworkers (HCWs) have got the 1st dose; 6,10,899 HCWs have been given the 2nd doseand 33,16,866 frontline workers (FLWs) havebeen given the 1st dose.”
Speaking on the two vaccines (COVAXIN and COVISHIELD) that have made this feat possible, he said, “The two COVID Vaccines approved by the country’s Drugs Controller have been tested and certified for their safety and immunogenicity and are completely safe. Only 40 cases of hospitalizations from Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) till date have been reported which comprisesonly 0.0004% of total vaccinations. Till now, there have been no serious/severe AEFI and no death has been attributed to the vaccines. The 32 deathsreported till date is a mere0.0003% of total vaccinations with post-mortem reports vindicating that these are not related to vaccination.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan thereafter detailed the trajectory of the vaccination in the country. The 2nddose of COVID19 vaccination started on 13th February, 2021 for those beneficiaries who have completed 28 days after receipt of the 1st dose. Vaccination of the FLWs started on 2nd Feb 2021.
The States/UTs have been instructed to schedule all HCWs who have been registered on the CO-Win app for vaccination at least once by 20th February 2021 and through mop-up rounds for left-out HCWs by 25th February 2021. Similarly, all registeredFLWS are to be scheduled for vaccination at least once by 1st March 2021 and through mop-up for left-out FLWs by 6th March 2021.
The Minister highlighted how the medical community is disproportionately at risk of infection from COVID-19 which has prompted their prioritization for vaccination: “COVID-19 created immense uncertainties in lives of all people across all communities– developed and underdeveloped, poor and rich, were all affected alike; but the community that it put most at risk is the medical fraternity – our doctors and nurses, paramedics, front line workers who have been most exposed to the risk due to their professional commitment in treatment, surveillance and containment activities. Nursing professionals are a critical resource for successful functioning of the health system as they are involved in direct care of the patients. Many health workers who got exposed to the disease while providing dedicated care to the COVID-19 patients. Due to this they have been first to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination so that they are protected from the disease and from developing any complications, if exposed.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated that “The nation is indebted and profoundly grateful to the medical fraternity that has relentlessly worked with unhindered commitment and consistency to follow their professional ethics with complete integrity”. He added that “It is because of your selfless duty and commitment that India has achieved the distinction of having one of the lowest COVID Fatality Rates and is among the nations with the highest Recovery Rates.”
Warning of some vested campaigns that are not founded on facts, he said“The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing vaccination drive is unfortunately affected by misinformation, rumours and negative messages. Factually incorrect information like infertility due to the vaccine, adverse effects if alcohol is consumed after vaccination etc., have come up quite prominently as few misconceptions, which need to be countered and nipped in the bud. As more than 1 crore doses have been administered successfully and safely, it is a testimony in itself to the safety of the vaccines. Let us not fall prey to these rumours.”