India’s ‘Atmanirbhar’ COVID Vaccine Drive Praised by Leaders
Union ministers, chief ministers and even foreign leaders react to the ‘largest vaccine drive’.
India’s ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on Saturday, 16 January by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with the very first jab administered to sanitation worker Manish at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Reactions from politicians across the country and even from abroad have begun to pour in, praising the programme, which uses two vaccines manufactured in India itself.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan called it an “epoch-making moment” for the country, noting that the vaccination drive takes us closer to ending the pandemic, while also lauding the leadership of the PM.
Union Law ministers Ravi Shankar Prasad and Gajendra Singh Shekhawat similarly praised what is being termed the ‘largest vaccine drive’, terming it a “historic and memorable” day while appreciating the PM’s leadership and the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ character of the drive.
Leaders of various states and Union Territories also responded to the vaccination drive, expressing their hopes that the vaccine rollout will be the start of a return to normal. Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio expressed his hope that it will be “the beginning of restoring communities to wholeness and health”:
Captain Amarinder Singh, CM of Punjab, said he was very happy that the drive had begun, urged the PM to provide the vaccine free to people from underprivileged communities and sought to allay fears about the vaccine by saying it had even been taken by the Queen of England, ANI reported.
Maharashtra cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray shared photos of the vaccination drive at the BKC vaccination centre in Mumbai and said it was a “moment of honour” for CM Uddhav Thackeray to stand with their frontline workers. He also thanked the Serum Institute of India team for their efforts in developing the vaccine and urged people to still remember to wear masks to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Reactions have also started to come in from political leaders outside India. ANI reported that Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering had said:
“I would like to congratulate PM Narendra Modi & the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic,”
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