Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo).
As day one of the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive draws to an end, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan has asked people to get rid of vaccine hesitancy, especially about Covaxin.
"With PM (Narendra) Modi taking Covaxin, all doubts about safety should vanish. People should take the vaccine without hesitancy", he said.
Addressing a media briefing on March 1, the minister appreciated the contribution of scientists who were involved in making the vaccines, and said all efforts have been taken to "remove vaccine hesitancy".
He informed that till February 28, 1.35 crore COVID-19 vaccine shots had been given to healthcare workers.
He further added that the government will scale up vaccination drive exponentially now, with the targetted groups being much bigger.
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Talking about the vaccine itself, the minister assured that enough doses have been procured and there will be no shortage.
He also clarified that there is no plan for launching vaccines in the open market yet. He said there have not been any complaints about the price cap on the vaccines at private hospitals being Rs 250 per dose.
"There are 15-20 vaccines in various stages of development. There will be many more vaccines available in India as time passes," he added.
In his briefing, he also warned the public against rising COVID-19 cases in many parts of the country. He said the surge in COVID-19 cases, however, had nothing to do with any new strain.
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"We are constantly in touch with state governments where COVID-19 cases are surging. COVID appropriate behaviour is essential. States need to increase testing," he reiterated.
Earlier in the day, the health ministry had announced that by 1 pm itself, 1 million users had registered themselves on the Co-WIN portal www.cowin.gov.in.
In the second phase of vaccination, everyone above the age of 60 years and those over 45 years with comorbidities will be able to get the COVID-19 vaccine. If they chose a government facility then the vaccine will be free. At private hospitals, a single dose of the vaccine will cost up to Rs 250.
The two vaccines being administered at the moment are - Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from Oxford/AstraZeneca being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII).Click here for Moneycontrol’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic