India

Coronavirus live updates | PM Modi flags-off ‘massive’ vaccination drive, congratulates scientists, warns against rumours


The world’s largest vaccination programme will begin at a total of 3,006 session sites across all the States and the Union Territories, which will be connected virtually throughout the exercise. Nearly 100 beneficiaries will receive the vaccine at each of the session sites on Saturday.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said adequate doses of both the vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — had been delivered across the country. He reviewed the functioning of the CoWIN system, the online digital platform that will be used to drive the vaccination programme.

You can track coronavirus cases, deaths and testing rates at the national and State levels here. A list of State Helpline numbers is available as well.

Here are live updates:

Karnataka

Vaccination drive begins in Karnataka

55-year-old Thyagaraj, cook at a hospital canteen, was the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot at Sir C.V. Raman Hospital in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, on January 16, 2021.

55-year-old Thyagaraj, cook at a hospital canteen, was the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine shot at Sir C.V. Raman Hospital in Indiranagar, Bengaluru, on January 16, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

 

Even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination was ongoing, Chandrashekar, a 32-year-old ‘D’ group worker in K.C. General hospital, Bengaluru, was given the jab. He is the first person to have received the vaccination.

After taking the shot,  Mr. Chandrashekar said he was feeling proud to be the first recipient. “I was infected with COVID-19 and have recovered. I had resolved to take the vaccine as soon as it is available so that I do not infect others,” he said.

A total of 23,400 healthcare workers including top doctors are taking the vaccine on the inaugural day.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Heath and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar along with Union Mijister Prahalad Joshi participated in the virtual launch at PMSSY hospital on Victoria hospital campus.

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Heath and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar along with Union Mijister Prahalad Joshi participated in the virtual launch at PMSSY hospital on Victoria hospital campus.
 
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

 

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, Heath and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar along with Union Mijister Prahalad Joshi participated in the virtual launch at PMSSY hospital on Victoria hospital campus. The hospital was decked up with balloons and flowers for the launch.

At PMSSY hospital, the first recipient – Nagaratna, a ‘D’ group worker at Victoria Hospital, Bengaluru – was given the jab in the presence of Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa. The CM greeted the recipient with roses.

Doctors Sudarshan Ballal and M.K. Sudarshan, who are members of the State’s COVID-19 expert committee, got themselves vaccinated at Victoria hospital. They were among the first five to be vaccinated here.

Speaking after participating in the virtual launch, the Chief Minister said the vaccines were completely safe and there should be no hesitancy in taking it. “Top doctors along with other healthcare workers are taking the vaccine. Today is a historic day and we have reached the final stage of our battle against COVID-19,” he said.

– Afshan Yasmeen

Tamil Nadu

First shots of vaccine administered in Tamil Nadu

E. Theranirajan, dean of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, taking the vaccine shot on January 16, 2021.

E. Theranirajan, dean of Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Chennai, taking the vaccine shot on January 16, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: Jothi Ramalingam B.

First shot of COVID-19 vaccination was administered to healthcare workers at GRH in Madurai in the presence of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam.

– S. Sundar

In Chennai, R. Jayanthi, dean of Government Medical College Hospital, Omandurar Estate took the vaccine on the first day of launch.

– Serena Josephine M.

 

Prime Minister Modi flags-off COVID-19 vaccination drive

Health workers listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address ahead of the launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive at Government General Hospital, Kozhikode, on January 16, 2021.

Health workers listening to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address ahead of the launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive at Government General Hospital, Kozhikode, on January 16, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: K. Ragesh

 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi flags-off the first phase of the pan-India roll out of the COVID-19 vaccination drive via video conferencing.

“For so many months everyone has been asking when the vaccine (for COVID-19) will come and now it is here. Minutes from now, the world’s largest vaccination drive will begin,” Mr. Modi said.

Congratulating everyone, “especially the scientists who are involved in the process’, the Prime Minister said, “They have worked relentlessly; the process of developing a vaccine takes years, but in such a short time we have been given two made-in-India vaccines.”

This was proof of India’s talent, he said.

‘India’s vaccine drive based on humane protocol’

India’s vaccination programme is based on humane protocol, Mr. Modi said, since the “most vulnerable are getting the vaccination first.”

“Our doctors, nurses, paramedic and cleaning staff have the first claim to this vaccine.”

In the next phase, the 3 crore people involved in essential services — police, fire personnel etc., will be vaccinated.

Dry runs of the immunisation programme were undertaken before the actual roll-out of the vaccination programme, he said, adding, everything was being tracked and recorded.

A woman walks past a painting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day before the inauguration of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, on a street in Mumbai, January 15, 2021.

A woman walks past a painting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a day before the inauguration of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, on a street in Mumbai, January 15, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: Reuters

 

Two doses

He reminded people that the COVID-19 vaccination involves 2 doses. “Don’t forget, they are both important. Also remember the gap between the doses,” he said. Only 14 days after taking the complete vaccination will you be protected, he warned.

He asked that COVID-19 protocols be followed even after getting the vaccines.

‘Massive exercise’

Calling the vaccination programme a “massive exercise”, Mr. Modi said, “history hasn’t seen such a scale and reach of a vaccination programme.”

Second phase of the drive, which will cover 30 crore people, will see older, vulnerable population getting the vaccine.

The PM said rumours must be kept at bay: “The EUA for the vaccines has come in after proper testing. India has been providing the world with vaccines. There is tremendous faith in India’s vaccines- they are cheaper and easier to use.”

Indian vaccines, he said, used technology best tailored for the country.

Let us believe in ourselves, he exhorted, adding, “When COVID reached India we didn’t have a single testing lab but now we have a robust network of laboratories. And we have enough COVID-19 medical equipment to export.”

‘Learnt from the past’

Mr. Modi said while the past period of the pandemic taught some tough lessons, the period also gave birth to hope: “there was a lot learnt in the period of the pandemic. This virus isolated many in the family- children have been isolated from their mothers, healthcare workers stayed away from families and served those affected by the virus. So, giving them priority in the vaccination drive is our way of honouring them.”

“We turned this around as our strength. We were alert, took early decisive decision. We brought in a high level committee even before the first case. We brought in our first advisory on 17 January. We were among the first to start passenger surveillance. We have shown great resilience so far,” Mr Modi said.

“Lockdown wasn’t an easy decision, but we took care of those who were economically hit. We presented an example to the world.”

“India evacuated its citizens stuck in other countries. The country gave testing labs to countries which were struggling India showed the world how to follow COVID-19 protocols. And because of this, case fatality has come down and recovery rate has gone up. Several districts have recorded no COVID-19 cases in in the past few days.”

“Our vaccination drive and our manufacturing capacity is an example to the world. We are duty-bound to help the world fight this virus.”

‘Vaccination and COVID-19-appropriate behaviour’

“This will be a long-running vaccination programme. Mask/ social distancing and other social protocol are vital even during the vaccination programme. We have to take a new resolution — vaccination and also COVID-19-appropriate behavior.”

“You, your family and the world should stay healthy and safe.”

The Prime Minister launches the world’s largest vaccination programme.

 

Global COVID-19 death toll tops 2 million amid vaccine rollout

The global death toll from COVID-19 topped 2 million on January 15, crossing the threshold amid a vaccine rollout so immense but so uneven that in some countries there is real hope of vanquishing the outbreak, while in other, less-developed parts of the world, it seems a far-off dream.

The numbing figure was reached just over a year after the coronavirus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The number of dead, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, is about equal to the population of Brussels, Mecca, Minsk or Vienna.

While vaccination drives in rich countries have been hamstrung by long lines, inadequate budgets and a patchwork of state and local approaches, the obstacles are far greater in poorer nations, which can have weak health systems, crumbling transportation networks, entrenched corruption and a lack of reliable electricity to keep vaccines cold enough.

New Delhi

Policy cloud delays Brazil vaccine flight

A flight, due to leave Brazil on January 14, 2021 and return on January 16 with 2 million doses of Covishield vaccine, was put off, the Brazilian Ministry of Health announced, citing logistical and licensing issues. Photo: gov.br/saude

A flight, due to leave Brazil on January 14, 2021 and return on January 16 with 2 million doses of Covishield vaccine, was put off, the Brazilian Ministry of Health announced, citing logistical and licensing issues. Photo: gov.br/saude
 

 

A special plane from Brazil to carry the first exports of Covishield, the India-made coronavirus vaccine, was delayed on Friday, amid confusion over clearance for the shipment, officials in New Delhi said.

The flight, due to leave Brazil on Thursday and return on Saturday with 2 million doses of the vaccine, was put off, the Brazilian Ministry of Health announced, citing logistical and licensing issues.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through the Embassy in New Delhi, is in constant contact with the Indian authorities, following the letter from President Jair Bolsonaro to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, of January 8, to ensure that the aircraft’s arrival authorised and that the cargo export license is granted without any hitches. The Brazilian Air Force is also involved in issues of authorisation to fly over and land the aircraft,” the Health Ministry in a statement issued in Brasilia said.

According to the officials, Brazilian authorities have now intimated them that the plane would leave Recife in Brazil for the 15,000 km, 18-hour journey to Mumbai on Saturday morning (IST), but only if it receives clearances from India.

China

China puts 20,000 villagers in quarantine over virus risk

China has sent over 20,000 rural residents living in the epicentre of the country’s latest virus outbreak to state-run quarantine facilities, as Beijing on Friday reported the worst nationwide figures since March. The country had largely brought the virus under control after strict measures, including mass testing and travel restrictions.

However, recent weeks have seen numbers climbing, especially in the north, prompting a fresh wave of lockdowns and restrictions.

AFP

USA

Joe Biden’s virus plan: 100 million shots just the start

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks about his plan to administer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the U.S. population during a news conference at Biden's transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. on January 15, 2021.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden speaks about his plan to administer coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines to the U.S. population during a news conference at Biden’s transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S. on January 15, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit:
Reuters

 

Getting 100 million shots into Americans’ arms in his first 100 days is only the beginning of his coronavirus plan, President-elect Joe Biden has declared.

Lasting impact, he said, will come from uniting the nation in a new effort grounded in science and fueled by billions in federal money for vaccination, testing and outbreak sleuths.

“You have my word: We will manage the hell out of this operation,” Mr. Biden said on January 15. But he also underscored a need for Congress to approve more money and for people to keep following basic precautions, such as wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and frequently washing their hands.

Telangana

DCGI nod for phase 3 trials for Sputnik V vaccine

Sputnik V, the vaccine for COVID-19 developed by Russia

Sputnik V, the vaccine for COVID-19 developed by Russia
 

 

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories has received Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approval to conduct phase 3 clinical trial for Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, Sputnik V, in the country.

The phase 3 trial will be conducted on 1,500 subjects as part of the randomised, double blind, parallel group, placebo controlled study in India, the Hyderabad-headquartered drugmaker said. Dr. Reddy’s and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) had announced a partnership in September on clinical trials for Sputnik V and its distribution rights in India.

“We expect to commence the phase 3 study within this month and will continue to fast-track our efforts to bringing in a safe and efficacious vaccine for the Indian population,” Dr. Reddy’s co-chairman and MD G.V. Prasad said in a statement on Friday.

Maharashtra

The decorated vaccination centre at Bandra Kurla Complex on January 16, 2021.

The decorated vaccination centre at Bandra Kurla Complex on January 16, 2021.
 
| Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

 

New Delhi

Dedicated 24×7 call centre — 1075 — set up for the vaccination programme

A dedicated 24×7 call centre — 1075 — has also been established for addressing the queries related to the pandemic, vaccine rollout and the CoWIN software, information released by the Prime Minister’s Office said.

The vaccination drive, where the beneficiaries currently will not have a choice between the two vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — available in India, has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups, the Health Ministry said.

Healthcare workers, both in the government and private sectors including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine during this first phase.



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