Asserting that India's Covid vaccination drive is science-driven and people-powered, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the country is in a much better position to fight this deadly pandemic but people must keep following all precautions.
Modi noted that today is an important day in India's efforts to vaccinate its citizens as now onwards, youngsters in the 12-14 age group were eligible for vaccines and all those above 60 were eligible for precaution doses.
"I urge people in these age groups to get vaccinated," he said in a series of tweets.
Modi asserted that India's vaccination drive, which is the largest in the world, is science-driven.
Highlighting the journey of India's vaccination drive, Modi said, "We began work to create vaccines in early 2020, to protect our citizens and strengthen our fight against the pandemic."
"The manner in which our scientists, innovators and the private sector rose to the occasion is commendable. In late 2020, I had visited three of our vaccine manufacturers and got firsthand details of their efforts to protect our citizens," he said.
In January 2021, India began its vaccination drive for doctors, healthcare and frontline workers, he noted.
The aim was to ensure those at the forefront of the fight against Covid get proper protection at the earliest, he said.
In March 2021, vaccination was opened to those above 60 and those over 45 with comorbidities, he pointed out. Later, the vaccination opened for all those above 18, he said.
Modi said it should make every Indian proud that the vaccines are free of cost for those who want it.
"Today, India has administered over 180 crore doses, which includes over 9 crore doses in age group of 15-17 and over 2 crore precaution doses. This forms an important protective shield for our citizens against COVID-19," he said in another tweet.
Over the last year, India's vaccination drive has been people-powered, he said.
Unlike other nations where we are witnessing a lot of vaccine hesitancy, people here have not only taken their doses but also urged others to get vaccinated as soon as possible, the prime minister said, adding that this is "heartening to see".
"I would like to appreciate our state governments for their support towards India's vaccination drive. Several states, especially the hill states and those where tourism is important, have achieved near total vaccination coverage and several big states have also done well," he said.
Modi asserted that India's vaccination efforts have made the global fight against COVID-19 stronger.
"In line with India's ethos of caring for the entire planet, we sent vaccines to several nations under the Vaccine Maitri programme. I am glad that India's vaccination efforts have made the global fight against COVID-19 stronger," he said.
He pointed out that India has many Made in India' vaccines, and the government has also granted approval to other vaccines after a due process of evaluation.
"We are in a much better position to fight this deadly pandemic. At the same time, we have to keep following all COVID related precautions," Modi said.