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Sanitation Worker first to receive COVID vaccine in India

Vedika Jain | New Delhi

From the 1.3 billions to be vaccinated as part of the world's largest vaccination programme, it was a frontline COVID warrior - Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, who was the first in India to be vaccinated against the coronavirus at Delhi's AIIMS. He was followed by healthcare worker Dhawal Dwivedi and then the AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria and NITI Aayog's senior member Dr VK Paul.

"I had a very nice experience. I was not reluctant to get the vaccine shot...people need not be worried. Now I don't have any doubts regarding the vaccine. Everyone must get inoculated," he said. That a sanitation worker and not a politician or any one influential received the vaccine the first was a given considering PM Narendra Modi's repeated speeches lauding the frontline COVID warrior who put his life at risk to save millions others.

The vaccination event followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the drive virtually on 16 January 2021. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, also present at the vaccination event, said, "These vaccines are our 'sanjivini' (live-saving drug) in our fight against the pandemic. We have won the battle against polio and now we have reached the decisive phase of winning the war against Covid. I want to congratulate all frontline workers on this day."

The country's drug regulator has approved Covishield, a coronavirus vaccine developed by the Oxford University and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and homegrown Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech, for emergency use. Some 3,000 sites across all states and union territories are vaccinating health workers; around 100 people will be vaccinated per session.

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