Dry runs were conducted to understand India's preparedness
In the second worst-hit nation, 10,543,659 contracted the fatal disease while 152,130 passed away. Meanwhile, the recovery rate stands at 96.56%, one of the best globally.
Before India went ahead with the massive immunization drive, it conducted three mock drills to judge the capability of the entire system.
The Co-WIN platform, which was developed to manage the program, was also put to test.
Staff at vaccination sites cheered and clapped as vials arrived
As the vials of the vaccines reached designated sites today, healthcare workers, who were the most exposed to the virus, clapped and cheered.
Visuals showed the staff of Cooper Hospital in Mumbai waiting with thalis and sweets to welcome the beneficiaries.
Likewise, the Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute was all decked up for the first phase of the drive.
Here are the visuals from Cooper Hospital
Kejriwal attended launch at Lok Nayak Hospital
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital when the drive was launched. The medical director of the facility said, "Doctors, nursing and sanitation staff will be given vaccine today."
To be sure, those who receive the doses today will have to return after 28 days to get the second dose. Two doses of the vaccines are necessary for protection against the disease.
PM Modi thanked those who helped India achieve this feat
In his address, PM Modi said lakhs of countrymen had been waiting for this day for months. He thanked all those who were involved in the process.
"We have not one but two 'Make In India' vaccines today and this shows the sheer talent the country has," he said.
He also quoted well-known Hindi poet Ramdhari Singh Dinkar to talk about determination.
Scientists, researchers fought against time to develop vaccines: PM Modi
PM Modi urged people not to miss the second dose
PM Modi reminded that India will follow the set pattern in the drive — the healthcare workers will get the doses first, followed by frontline warriors, who face a higher risk of getting infected.
He underlined that getting both doses of the vaccines is necessary while adding that antibodies to fight the disease would kick in two weeks after the second dose is injected.