Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched India’s COVID-19 vaccination drive via a video conference.

“Everyone was asking as to when the vaccine will be available. It is available now. I congratulate all the countrymen on this occasion,” Prime Minister Modi said in his speech.

“Usually it takes many years to develop a vaccine but in such a short span of time, not one, but two ‘Made in India’ vaccines are ready. The work on other vaccines is also progressing at a fast pace,” the Prime Minister added.

One of the world’s biggest vaccination programmes aimed at inoculating 3 crore health and other frontline workers first, it will use shots manufactured in India – one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, the other by Bharat Biotech.

Over 3 lakh healthcare workers are set to be inoculated on the first day of the long-awaited vaccination drive which Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan marks “probably the beginning of the end” of COVID-19.

Some 3,000 sites across all states and union territories have opened their doors for the launch and around 100 people will be vaccinated at each session site.

Modi said that the unprecedented vaccination exercise will help decisively end the coronavirus pandemic.

“Such a vaccination drive, at such a massive scale, was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than three crore population and India is administering vaccination to 3 crore people in the first phase itself. In the second phase, we have to take this number to 30 crore,” he said.

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