Looking at the possibility of eradication of COVID-19 in India, Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences said, “We are in the end game of the COVID-19 Pandemic in India, and to succeed at this stage, we need to follow three steps: Keep politics out of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, Trust the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, and Ensure our near and dear ones get vaccinated on time.”
Stating that the government has already involved private players in COVID-19 vaccination, and if hospitals want, they can conduct vaccination 24×7, he reiterated that today children in the entire world need to be vaccinated against poliomyelitis only because Pakistan and Afghanistan failed to eradicate this disease from their respective countries, although Polio stands eradicated from the rest of the world.
Similarly, India cannot be safe from coronavirus and COVID-19 if the rest of the world continues to be unsafe, which is why it is essential to curb COVID-19 “vaccine nationalism. If the poor and underdeveloped countries continue to harbour the Novel Coronavirus, we shall not be able to ensure safety for all. A fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine is the biggest need of the hour.”
He also noted that India, has emerged as the world’s pharmacy and has supplied 5.51 crore COVID-19 vaccines to 62 different countries.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “We are 14 months into what is the biggest health crisis in our lifetime and almost two months into the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination drive. As of today, we have administered over 2 crore COVID-19 vaccine shots and have increased our vaccination rate to 15 lakhs per day. Unlike most other countries, we have a steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines that are safe with proven immunogenicity and efficacy. Based on the initial results, these Made in India vaccines have shown some of the lowest adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) anywhere in the world.”
He was accepting an award from Delhi Medical Association (DMA) for his contribution to the medical fraternity and outstanding service and exemplary work during the COVID-19 pandemic, during the association’s 62nd Annual Delhi State Medical Conference (MEDICON 2021) in collaboration with Dharamshila Narayana Hospital. The Union Health Minister, who not only engineered polio eradication in India, has also handled several outbreaks in the past, such as Dengue, Ebola and Plague.
At the event, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “COVID-19 Pandemic gave us the opportunity that all of us come together and put India before ourselves. Healthcare Workers (HCWs) and Frontline Workers, not just in this room, but across India, rose to the occasion and sacrificed not only their time with family, but also their own mental, physical and emotional health for this beloved nation. I want to thank you, your colleagues, your friends & family, and everyone else who gave you the strength and encouragement to serve our motherland during the time it needed us the most.”
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