Pharma Pride: PM Modi leads world’s biggest vaccination drive

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on an epic journey to secure nearly 1.4 billion people from the coronavirus pandemic by launching the world’s biggest vaccination programme.”It takes years to prepare vaccines. But in the shortest span of time, we have not only one but two India-made vaccines,” PM Modi said while showering praises on scientists.”There are 100 countries which do not have a population of 3 crore (30 million people) but India in the first phase will inoculate 3 crore healthcare workers. In the next step, we will take this number to 30 crore (300 million).”“There are only three countries in the world with more than 30 crore population: India, the US and China. Hence, this is going to be the biggest vaccination drive,” Mr Modi said.

During his speech, Mr Modi turned emotional while speaking of the disruption the pandemic caused to people’s lives.If it goes all as planned, India will become only the third country to be able to vaccinate more than 300,000 people a day after the US and China.The drive not only highlights the Make in India project of indigenous manufacturing, but also reflects India’s growing reputation as a global pharmacy of the world. These vaccines marks India’s entry into the exclusive V5 club- the five anti-corona vaccine-producing powers (the US, UK, Russia, China, India) – and reflects an impressive increase in its soft power globally.

“In the spirit of vasudhaiva  kutumbakam (the whole world is a family) ingrained in Indian culture, India will also be providing vaccines to different countries in the world, starting with neighbours such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar,” said Manish Chand, CEO & Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network and India and the World magazine.

The drive is set to strengthen India’s relations with countries in South Asia as India’s pharmaceutical knowhow is considered far more reliable than any other nation including China. India’s constructive role at the World Health Organisation builds trust and paves the way for the export of Indian vaccines to the needy regions.

Facts & Figures

Modi’s vaccination drive will be the world’s biggest exercise that will entail inoculating 30 million health workers using shots manufactured in India – one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, the other by Bharat Biotech with the country’s top clinical research body. Over 3000 sites will be monitored via video-conferencing,  and around 100 people will be vaccinated at each session site.The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups and informing the candidates via phones. Healthcare workers, both in government and private sectors will receive the vaccine during this phase, the health ministry said in a statement.

“In just a few minutes, India will launch the world’s largest vaccination drive. I congratulate everyone. Those related to its development deserve special applause. They didn’t see festivals, day or night. They dedicated themselves” tweeted PM Modi ahead of the launch.PM Modi said that scientists and experts have given permission for emergency use of the Made-in-India vaccines only after being absolutely sure of their safety and the people should be aware of any propaganda and rumours.

Co-WIN App

Mr Modi is also likely to launch the Co-WIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) App, a digital platform created for real-time monitoring of COVID-19 vaccine delivery and distribution. This online digital platform will assist programme managers across all levels while conducting vaccination sessions.   The app will facilitate data on vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries, besides assisting programme managers across national, state, and district levels. It will also help to track beneficiary coverage, dropouts and sessions planned for the drive.

(Palak Chhabra contributed inputs for the article) 

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