Cautioning people that the threat of COVID-19 remains, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 27 urged them to shed vaccine hesitancy and get themselves inoculated soon.
In his monthly Mann ki Baat broadcast, Modi hailed the feat of most vaccination doses administered in a single day on June 21 at the start of the new phase of inoculation under which all adults are being given free jabs.
Seeking to make people shed vaccine hesitancy, Modi spoke to residents of Dulariya village in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh and counselled them to take the vaccine amidst their doubts about the exercise.
He noted that both he and his nearly 100-year-old mother have taken both doses of the vaccine, and asked people not to believe in rumours and trust science and scientists.
"The threat of COVID-19 remains and we have to focus on vaccination as well as follow COVID-19 protocols," he said.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
With the Monsoon approaching, Modi also stressed on water conservation.
In his broadcast, he also paid tributes and remembered the contribution of Indian sprint legend Milkha Singh, who died earlier this month.
Modi hailed Singh's contribution to Indian sports and said he will always cherish his interactions with the athlete.
Singh died in a Chandigarh hospital after a month-long battle with COVID-19. He also lost his wife Nirmal Kaur, a former national volleyball captain, to the same disease.
Modi also shared the struggles and triumphs of Olympics-bound Indian athletes and said that people must not build any pressure on these sports persons but "cheer for India".
"Every athlete who is going to Tokyo has worked hard. They are going there to win hearts. It must be our endeavour to support our team and not put pressure on the team," he said.
(With PTI inputs)