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India’s vaccination drive picks up pace as top docs lead the way

India's vaccination drive picks up pace

India's vaccination drive against Covid-19 has picked up momentum with 15.37 lakh people having been inoculated since January 16, when the mass inoculation drive was launched. On Saturday, 2 lakh people were vaccinated– the highest so far in a single day.
Hospitals across Delhi reported impressive numbers as the national capital vaccinated 6,111 of its intended beneficiaries or 75% of state's daily target of 8,100 beneficiaries. There was 100 per cent vaccination in four big hospitals of Delhi government that include LNJP, Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital, GTB Hospital and Delhi State Cancer Institute.
After a sluggish start with just 1.9 lakh healthcare workers getting vaccinated on the first day, the number shot up to 3.5 lakh on day seven.
According to health ministry figures, a total of 1,238 adverse events have been recorded so far which constitutes 0.08% of the total number of vaccinations. Only 11 persons or 0.0007% of the people who were vaccinated have been hospitalised.
Dr Renu Gupta, a Microbiologist, was one of the walk-in-beneficiaries at the Rajiv Gandhi Hospital on Saturday. " My turn may have come 4 to 5 days later but it is best to get vaccinated as early as possible. We need to be protected first in order to protect others, that is why healthcare workers have to get vaccinated first," she said.
The increase in numbers is due to some healthcare workers shedding their initial fears over adverse reactions as prominent doctors have shown the way by taking the lead in getting vaccinated. Besides, modifications made in the CoWin database to allow walk-in vaccinations have also helped. These are being permitted for healthworkers who are not slotted for a certain date but can fill the slots of those who have been given the date but do not show up for vaccination.
While many including the opposition party leaders have pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the jab to clear doubts on the efficacy of the vaccine, authorities said that he would take the shot in the second phase of the rollout, expected to begin around April. In the second phase, people above 50 years of age or those with co-morbidities would be administered.
“While there was some initial reluctance among people in taking the vaccine, the exercise is picking steam. Much of the apprehension has been put to rest as many people have already been vaccinated without no major side effects,” Gopal Krishna Agarwal, National Spokesperson of the BJP told IndiaNarrative.com.
Under the first phase of the vaccine drive, which is currently underway, three crore people primarily engaged in the frontline sectors will get the jabs.
The Union Health Ministry on Saturday said that six healthcare workers, who were inoculated, have died so far but added that none of these deaths were related to the Covid vaccinations.
Meanwhile, in India, the number of active Coronavirus cases is currently less than 2 lakh, significantly lower than several other countries such as Brazil, Russia, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany among others besides the US.  
Even as many countries reported a second wave, India so far has managed to control the spread.
“However, to ensure that the spread of the pandemic is totally controlled, it is necessary for people to take the vaccine,” a practising doctor on condition of anonymity said.
According to Hindustan Times, “the US reached its one million mark in terms of people vaccinated on December 24, 10 days after it launched its vaccination drive.”