Coronavirus: PM Modi, CMs to get vaccinated in second phase
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 70, would be getting the coronavirus vaccine shot in the second phase of the drive launched last week, reports said on Thursday. Chief Ministers of all states as well as MPs and MLAs above the age of 50 will also get inoculated. As per the plans, all those above 50 are slated to receive doses in the second phase.
On January 16, the world's largest inoculation drive started
India's vaccination program started on January 16, with two vaccines Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine mass-produced by Pune's Serum Institute of India, and COVAXIN, developed by Bharat Biotech. In the first phase, three crore healthcare and frontline workers would be inoculated as they face a higher risk of contracting the infection. As per data from the Ministry of Health, 8,06,484 have been vaccinated so far.
Earlier, Modi said public representatives would've to wait for turn
To recall, when he spoke to chief ministers on January 11 to discuss the fine print of the drive, PM Modi revealed that public representatives will have to wait longer. "This is my personal suggestion and no one should take it otherwise. We public representatives are not part of it (first phase)," he had said, while also urging CMs to work against rumor-mongering.
Later, Puducherry CM requested PM to let politicians get vaccinated
Despite PM Modi's appeal, Puducherry CM V Narayanasamy believed that politicians must get vaccinated in the first phase itself. He wrote to the PM requesting the same. "I have written to PM Narendra Modi asking him to allow political party leaders, ministers, and legislators to be vaccinated in the first phase and set an example so that the people can have confidence," he said.
Jumping queue, Trinamool Congress members got jabs in West Bengal
PM Modi's directions notwithstanding, a number of Trinamool Congress leaders got inoculated in West Bengal. In the East Burdwan district, Bhatar MLA Subhash Mondal and Katwa MLA Rabindranath Chatterjee got the jab out of turn. The latter even assured that no one will be "left out." He said, "The government will make sure everyone (in the state) gets a vaccine."
Unsurprisingly, BJP targeted TMC, called behavior 'shameless'
Subsequently, Bharatiya Janata Party's Ramakrishna Chakraborty slammed the ruling party. "The manner in which the TMC leaders queued to get the vaccine, it has gone beyond all bounds of shame," he told PTI. Soon TMC's Prosenjit Das replied, "Officially, those who have survived COVID-19 will be the first to receive the vaccine. So there is no issue of political benefit in it."
Meanwhile, India struggling to meet targets of the vaccination program
While India launched the vaccination drive with much excitement, the number of people arriving to get shots is way below expected. AIIMS Director Dr. Randeep Guleria attributed this to "infodemic" and unnecessary discussions on side-effects. NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul, who also heads the government committee on vaccination, urged healthcare workers to fulfill their "societal responsibility" by taking the doses.
Dr. Paul pleaded with healthcare workers to get doses
"If our healthcare workers, our doctors, and nurses, if they are declining to take it, I feel sorry. I plead with them, on behalf of the government, because we don't know what shape this pandemic will take going forward," Dr. Paul said.