Around 3,00,000 healthcare and frontline workers will get shots during the first phase

With simultaneous Covid-19 vaccination across the country, India embarked on the world’s largest innoculation drive on Saturday.

Sanitation worker Manish Kumar became the first to be administered the vaccine in the country at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, in the presence of Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan.

“It was an honour for me to join our courageous Corona Warriors at AIIMS, Delhi on this momentous occasion. As a fitting tribute to their selfless service, our healthcare workers & frontline workers will be the 1st to be inoculated #COVID19 vaccine,” Vardhan said in a tweet sharing the pictures of the vaccination drive.

AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria received his Covid-19 vaccine shot on live television soon after in a move to instil confidence among the people about the safety of the vaccine.

"It is the beginning of the end as far as the pandemic is concerned," he was quoted as saying.

The world’s largest vaccination drive was virtually launched in the morning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

According to provisional reports received by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 1,91,181 beneficiaries were vaccinated in 3,352 sessions held across the country during the day. An additional 3,429 beneficiaries were vaccinated in defence institutions. As many as 16,755 personnel were actively involved in organizing the immunization session sites.

"No case of post-vaccination hospitalization has been reported, so far," the ministry said in a statement issued in the evening.

The vaccination program, aimed at inoculating 3 crore health and other frontline workers first, is using shots manufactured in India - one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca which has been manufactured by Pune-based Serum Institute of India, and the other by Bharat Biotech with the country's top clinical research body, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

Around 3,00,000 healthcare and frontline workers are receiving the first of two vaccine doses doses during the first phase.

Speaking at the virtual conference, PM Modi said that India’s vaccination drive will not only benefit the countrymen but also friendly foreign nations.

"Today, when we have developed our own vaccine, the world is looking at India with hope. As our vaccination drive will move forward, other countries of the world will benefit from it. India's vaccine and our production capability must be used for human interest, this is our commitment," PM Modi said.

He also cautioned citizens and urged them not to be affected by propaganda against the two Made in India vaccines against coronavirus.

"Around 60% of children of the world get vaccines that are manufactured in India. The world puts trust in India's vaccine science and research,” he said.

In his speech, PM Modi talked about the affordability and the user-friendly nature of Indian vaccines.

"Some foreign-made vaccines need to be stored at minus 70-degree Celsius temperature. One dose of some vaccines costs over ₹5,000. Compared to that, Indian vaccines are cheaper and are also easy to use," PM Modi said.