New Delhi, Jan 16 : Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan asserted the safety and efficacy of the two coronavirus vaccines and described them as ‘Sanjivani’ in the fight against the Covid-19 infection as India started its massive vaccination drive against the disease on Saturday.
Harsh Vardhan visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi ahead of the launch of the immunisation drive against coronavirus and urged people not to pay heed to hearsay and instead believe in experts and scientists.
PM Narendra Modi launched the world’s largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country and urged people to show patience during the coronavirus immunisation drive as they had shown till now in fighting the pandemic.
Speaking to the reporters, Harsh Vardhan said, “It’s a historic day. We have been blessed by the prime minister all through our fight against coronavirus. It’s the largest coronavirus vaccination programme in world.”
“We have been able to put up a valiant fight against the disease during the last one year. Adopting a preemptive and proactive strategy has resulted in a very good performance by India. We have probably the lowest fatality rate in the world,” Harsh Vardhan said.
“These vaccines are ‘sanjivani’ in our fight against this pandemic. We have won the battles against polio and smallpox. Now, we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against coronavirus,” the Union health minister said.
Asserting the safety of the coronavirus vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — Harsh Vardhan said, “The experts gave their approval after seeing the results. There is no difference between vaccines. Both are equally safe and effective.”ADVERTISEMENT
Thanking all, including doctors, nurses, healthcare staff, security personnel and journalists, who have been at the frontline in the fight against the pandemic, the minister said they ensured India reaches the stage when vaccine gets delivered to the people.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had earlier this month approved Oxford coronavirus vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
“I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day. At times when rumours are being spread, I hope the media will spread the correct information and this move will help in the fight against the disease,” the health minister said.
Asserting that both the vaccines are safe and effective, Harsh Vardhan urged people not to give in to hearsay and instead believe in experts. “They [the scientists and doctors] have put their heart and soul into it,” he said, adding, “The safety of the people has always been paramount.”
Harsh Vardhan also said the Phase 3 trials of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is underway. “It has been subjected to ample and adequate scrutiny,” he said.
“There is no need for any fear. We have to be absolutely fearless, and sure of the safety of this vaccine and also have to be patient…Everyone has to wait for his/her turn,” the health minister said.
On the vaccination drive, Harsh Vardhan said, “This is probably the biggest immunisation campaign against COVID anywhere in the world. India has tremendous experience in handling such issues. We have already eradicated polio and smallpox.” (India TodayPTI)