As the country hit the 1 billion COVID-19 vaccines milestone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Friday, 21 October, hailed India's vaccination drive.
"Yesterday on October 21, India has achieved the difficult but extraordinary target of 1 billion, 100 crore vaccine doses. Behind this achievement is the duty of 130 crore countrymen, so this success is the success of India, the success of every countryman."Prime Minister Modi
"Today many people are comparing India's vaccination program with other countries of the world. The speed with which India crossed the 100 crore mark, 1 billion is also being appreciated. But, in this analysis one thing is often missed that where we have started this," the prime minister stated.
"They had decades of expertise in researching vaccines. India mostly depended on vaccines made by these countries," he noted.
"Will the people of India get the vaccine or not? Will India be able to vaccinate enough people to stop the pandemic from spreading? There were various questions, but today this 100 crore vaccine dose is answering every question," the PM said.
PM Modi further asserted that the 100 crore vaccine landmark is symbolic of the country's strength.
"100 crore vaccine dose is not only a figure, it is also a reflection of the country's strength. It is the creation of a new chapter in history. This is a picture of a New India that knows how to achieve difficult goals," he further asserted.
'Vaccine for Everyone, No VIP Culture': PM Modi
"At the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, fears were also being expressed that it would be very difficult to fight this epidemic in a democracy like India. It was also being said for India, for the people of India, that how will so much restraint, so much discipline work here? But for us democracy means 'everyone together,'" the prime minister said in his address on Friday.
"Taking everyone along, the country started the campaign of 'Vaccine-Free Vaccine for Everyone'. Poor-rich, village-city, far-away, the country has only one mantra that if the disease does not discriminate, then there cannot be any discrimination in the vaccine. So it was ensured that the VIP culture does not dominate the vaccination campaign."Prime Minister Modi
The prime minister, in his address, also emphasised on the scientific nature of the vaccination drive.
"India's entire vaccination program is born in the womb of science, has grown on scientific grounds and has reached all four directions through scientific methods. It is a matter of pride for all of us that the entire vaccination program of India has been science born, science driven and science based," the prime minister said.
At the same time, the prime minister warned that complacence can be dangerous, and caution regarding COVID-19 should continue.
"No matter how good the shield is, no matter how modern the armour is, even if the armour gives a complete guarantee of protection, weapons should not be thrown away while the battle is still on. I request that we have to celebrate our festivals with utmost care," he said.
'Experts Are Very Positive About India's Economy': Modi
"Experts and many agencies from home and abroad are very positive about India's economy. Today not only record investment is coming in Indian companies but new employment opportunities are also being created for the youth. With record investment in start-ups, record start-ups, unicorns are being made," the PM noted in his address.
"I will tell you again that we should insist on buying every little thing, which is made in India, which an Indian sweats hard to make. And this will be possible only with the efforts of everyone," he said.
"Just like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is a mass movement, in the same way, buying things made in India, buying things made by Indians, being 'Vocal for Local', we have to put this into practice," he added.
India Hits 1 Billion Vaccines Landmark
The prime minister's address to the nation comes a day after the country scripted history by reaching the milestone of having administered 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine.
Meanwhile, on Friday, PM Modi changed his profile picture on Twitter to mark the milestone. His new display pictures now shows a vial of COVID-19 vaccine, with the message ‘congratulations India’ written across it.
On Thursday, shortly after the landmark was achieved, PM Modi had tweeted "India scripts history. We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat."
To mark the occasion, PM Modi paid a visit to a vaccination centre at Delhi's Dr Ram Manohar Lohia hospital where he interacted with the health workers and the vaccine beneficiaries present.
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Thursday launched a song by singer Kailash Kher and an audio-visual film in order to celebrate the landmark event. The largest national flag, a handspun khadi tricolour weighing around 1,400 kg was also hoisted at the Red Fort on Thursday.