PM Modi to address the nation on vaccination campaign on Jan 16

Six Asia-Pacific countries are among the top 20 vaccines exporters. Photo: The Hanoi Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

NEW DELHI, Jan 15, 2021, HT. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address the nation on January 16 morning to start Covid-19 vaccination in India, Hindustan Times reported.

The vaccination campaign, marking the final phase in India’s long battle against the pandemic, will be held daily from 9am to 5pm, barring the days earmarked for routine immunisation programme.

Vaccination of health care and frontline workers will be held at a wide range of public health care facilities, from hospitals to primary health centres in rural India and large private hospitals.

This would be the PM’s second address to the nation in the recent months. His last one was on October when he reminded people on the continued fight against the pandemic after the federal lockdown was lifted to rejuvenate the economy.

Officials involved in the preparations said that all pallets of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccines have reached all state capitals and their distribution to the districts and blocks is on. Similarly, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, a backup to Covishield, has also arrived in some states.

The funding of the first two groups of beneficiaries—the healthcare and frontline workers—will be done entirely by the Centre, the PM had announced earlier this week.

On Monday, he spoke to all CMs as the countdown started for the much-awaited inoculation drive.

In his speech on Saturday morning, the Prime Minister is expected to assure the nation that the vaccines have gone through rigorous process of testing before scientists gave approval for their emergency use. According to an official, Modi is also expected to talk about the need to fight against malicious rumours and deliberate misinformation campaign by vested interest groups in a bid to dampen the vaccine campaign and create fear among the people.

Officials, however, also added that the standard safety protocols including wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing will continue even after one gets a vaccine.

In many states, the chief ministers are expected to hold one last preparatory meeting on Friday to take stock of the situation before the vaccination drive starts.

The officials have defined health care providers and workers in health care settings, like doctors, nurses, technicians, lab workers including ICDS workers. Frontline workers include personnel from state and Central Police department, armed forces, home guard, prison staff, disaster management volunteers and civil defence organisation, municipal workers and revenue officials engaged in Covid-19 containment, surveillance and associated activities.

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