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COVID-19 Vaccination Drive 2nd Phase: Senior Union Ministers Get First Vaccine Jab

New Delhi: A day after the start of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, senior Union ministers, including Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, got themselves inoculated on Tuesday and appealed to all eligible people to take the jab.

Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also got inoculated on Tuesday, taking their first dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine at Patna and Rampur respectively.

Vardhan and his wife took the first dose of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine Covaxin at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. They paid Rs 250 each for the vaccine jab.

Completing the observation period of half an hour after taking the first dose of the vaccine, Vardhan addressed the media and appealed to eligible people to get themselves vaccinated.

“Today, I and my wife took the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine at Delhi Heart and Lung Hospital. The observation time of half an hour is completed. Hospital authorities have informed me that I and my wife have been given Covaxin. In the last half an hour, I and my wife did not face any kind of difficulty,” he told reporters.

“On this occasion, I would like to urge all the citizens of this country whose age is above 60 or if they are in the age bracket of 45-59 having specified co-morbidities to take the vaccine,” he said.

Defence Minister Singh took the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital here.

Dispelling apprehensions, he said the vaccine is completely safe.

“The first dosage of COVID-19 vaccine was administered to me at RR Hospital today. India’s resolve for making the country COVID-free has been strengthened by this inoculation drive. The vaccine is completely safe and hassle free. #LargestVaccineDrive,” the minister said in a tweet.

“I salute the efforts of India’s scientists and doctors who developed the vaccine in a short span of time. I also thank the doctors and paramedic staff at the RR Hospital for the vaccination. I urge everyone who is eligible to take the vaccine and make India COVID-free,” he added.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Prasad was administered the first dose of anti-coronavirus vaccine in Patna for which he paid Rs 250.

He said all the Union ministers have decided to voluntarily pay the price fixed for the vaccine.

“I also got myself administered the made in India vaccine — Covaxin — at AIIMS Patna,” Prasad tweeted.

“Though the coronavirus vaccine is free in Bihar, I paid Rs 250 to the hospital as price for the shot,” he said.

Union Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi took the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine at Rampur’s K D Dalmia Eye Hospital and was administered Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.

After getting inoculated, the minister thanked the medical staff at the hospital and urged all those eligible to get themselves vaccinated against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who is the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, also got his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a hospital in Srinagar. Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) founder Kamal Haasan was also administered with the COVID-19 vaccine at a Chennai hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu were among the host of top leaders who took the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Monday.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and NCP president Sharad Pawar also took the jab on Monday.

The government had announced on Wednesday that everyone above 60 years of age and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine from March 1 for free at government facilities and for a charge at many private hospitals.

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