India’s ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on Saturday, 16 January by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the very first jab administered to sanitation worker Manish at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Reactions from politicians across the country and even from abroad have begun to pour in, praising the programme, which uses two vaccines manufactured in India itself.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called it an “epoch-making moment” for the country, noting that the vaccination drive takes us closer to ending the pandemic, while also lauding the leadership of the PM.
An epoch-making moment for India!
Launch of world's #LargestVaccineDrive by Hon'ble PM Sh @narendramodi Ji across 3006 vaccine centres in India takes us closer to ending this #pandemic
Salute the exemplary leadership of our beloved PM enabling our effective tackling of #COVID19 pic.twitter.com/FBzY9ntdQL
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) January 16, 2021
Union Law ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat similarly praised what is being termed the ‘largest vaccine drive’, terming it a “historic and memorable” day while appreciating the PM’s leadership and the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ character of the drive.
Historic & memorable day!
India becomes Aatmanirbhar in the fight against COVID-19. Vaccines made in India being rolled out. Greatly appreciate the inspiring leadership of PM @narendramodi, which made it happen.
Vande Mataram!! #LargestVaccineDrive
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) January 16, 2021
— Gajendra Singh Shekhawat (@gssjodhpur) January 16, 2021
Leaders of various states and Union Territories also responded to the vaccination drive, expressing their hopes that the vaccine rollout will be the start of a return to normal. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio expressed his hope that it will be “the beginning of restoring communities to wholeness and health”:
Attended launch of pan-India rollout of COVID19 #vaccination drive by @narendramodi ji via VC. Also launched #COVID19Vaccine for Nagaland. As we join the country in the world’s largest vaccination prog., I hope it'll be the beginning of restoring communities to wholeness & health pic.twitter.com/b9RzftsHFq
— Neiphiu Rio (@Neiphiu_Rio) January 16, 2021
Captain Amarinder Singh, CM of Punjab, said he was very happy that the drive had begun, urged the PM to provide the vaccine free to people from underprivileged communities and sought to allay fears about the vaccine by saying it had even been taken by the Queen of England, ANI reported.
Scientists & doctors have said that the vaccine is safe. Even the Queen of England has had it, she is 93-years-old, her husband who is 99-years-old has had it. So, what is the fear? There is no fear: Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh https://t.co/RtKB07QRvl
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2021
Maharashtra cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray shared photos of the vaccination drive at the BKC vaccination centre in Mumbai and said it was a “moment of honour” for CM Uddhav Thackeray to stand with their frontline workers. He also thanked the Serum Institute of India team for their efforts in developing the vaccine and urged people to still remember to wear masks to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
I wholeheartedly thank @adarpoonawalla & the team of @SerumInstIndia @AstraZeneca for their efforts to develop the vaccine, as while standing there I remembered the times when we’d visit BKC & other places to build jumbo covid centres early April, wondering about (2/n)
— Aaditya Thackeray (@AUThackeray) January 16, 2021
Reactions have also started to come in from political leaders outside India. ANI reported that Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering had said:
"“I would like to congratulate PM Narendra Modi & the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic,”"
I would like to congratulate PM Narendra Modi & the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic: Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering pic.twitter.com/szmtD6djwb
— ANI (@ANI) January 16, 2021
. Read more on India by The Quint.Beware of Propaganda: PM Launches India’s COVID Vaccination DriveIndia’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ COVID Vaccine Drive Praised by Leaders . Read more on India by The Quint.