New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said India is working on a fast pace to roll out the covid-19 vaccination programme at the earliest and ensure that it reaches all targeted sections.
Modi said, while 2020 became symbolic with the gloom of infection, 2021 is arriving with the hope of a cure. “India is preparing to run the largest vaccination programme at a high pace. I am confident that the way we came together in the year that went by to take on the disease, in the same way, we will take efforts and move forward together to ensure that the vaccination programme runs smoothly,” he said.
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The Prime Minister was speaking at an event to virtually lay the foundation stone of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Rajkot, Gujarat, which is being built at an estimated cost ₹1195 crore, and is expected to be completed by mid-2022.
Modi cautioned against believing in “rumours and lies” regarding the vaccination programme. “It is possible that when vaccine work starts, there can be a lot of rumours and lies. Some of it has already started. Some people with ill intent spread these rumours with a lot of conviction. I request everyone to not believe in rumours in this fight against covid-19. We should not forward messages without checking,” he said.
The Prime Minister’s statement comes a day after a subject expert committee, advising the drug regulator on covid-19 vaccines, said it needs more time to analyse clinical trial data submitted by Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech International in support of their applications for emergency licences.
Speaking about the healthcare system after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came to power in 2014, Modi said the focus of the union government has been to ensure that poor people spend less on healthcare. He said the focus has been on ‘holistic ground changes’ in healthcare sector with a stress on preventive care and advance technologies.
“Some people may have questions on why the focus of our schemes like Ayushman Bharat and Jan Aushadhi Kendras have been on saving people’s money on healthcare. Medical expense has always been a big cause of worry. When a poor person is ill, there is a high possibility that he would never go for a cure. Whether the cause is lack of money or other expenses in the house…access to healthcare services is the biggest strength that people have got,” he added.