India Begin Largest Vaccination Drive. Some Adverse Cases, None Fatal

India began its nation-wide vaccination drive against Covid-19 on Saturday, the 16th of January. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched this giant drive, he paid tribute to frontline workers and scientists, he also warned citizens to not fall for propaganda or rumours over the vaccines. "These vaccines will help India win the battle against the virus," PM Modi said.

Sanitation worker Manish Kumar became the first person in India to get vaccinated against the Covid-19 virus. The shot was given to him at Delhi’s premier All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), which is one of the over 3,000 vaccination centres established around the country. On the first day of this largest immunisation campaign, the government said it aimed to vaccinate over 3 lakh citizens. At the end of the day, 1.9 lakh had been inoculated; that is over half of the aimed beneficiaries were given their vaccinations on Saturday. 

The Coronavirus pandemic so far in India has caused around 1,52,093 deaths and upended millions of lives in the country. 

Out of the two vaccines approved in India for restricted emergency use - Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin - there have been certain apprehensions that have been expressed for the latter, as it is yet to complete its late-stage human trials and no efficacy and data has yet been made public. 

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla took a shot of the Covishield coronavirus vaccine on Saturday as well, saying that it brings him immense pride that Covishield is a part of this historic effort. 

All the vaccine beneficiaries will require a second dose of the vaccine within a month. 

Among some adverse events of the vaccination, as the nationwide drive began, Maharashtra recorded 14 cases of such adverse events, none of them fatal, on Day 1 of the vaccination rollout.