PM Modi takes Covaxin jab as age-specific vaccine drive begins

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first person to receive the indigenous Covid vaccine Covaxin on Monday as India began age-specific inoculation drive after first administering doses to health-care and frontline workers.

The PM tweeted after getting the vaccine, “Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!”

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P Niveda from Puducherry administered Covaxin (made by Bharat BioTech) to Modi.

As the PM arrived at AIIMS to take the vaccine, he was seen wearing the traditional ‘gamcha’ of Assam, which is symbolic of blessings of women from Assam.

The Health Ministry said several other ministers and MPs could also get vaccinated in the current phase that starts with registrations opening at 9 am on Monday.

Ministers earlier indicated that they would want to pay for the vaccine.

In the second phase, vaccine would be administered free at government facilities and for Rs 250 a dose at private hospitals.

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The government is hoping to speed up vaccination drive as daily new cases continue to rise.

Active cases have now risen for most of past week with fears of a looming second wave.

Early and widespread inoculation can offset a second surge, say experts but vaccine acceptance remains low with just around 60 per cent even among health-care and frontline workers who were covered in phase one.