India takes pride in having world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme: PM


New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that India takes pride in having the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccination programme and more than 54 crore people have already taken the vaccine shots.

In his Independence Day address from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the prime minister spoke of the country’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and praised the scientists, doctors and paramedical staff among others.

He lauded those involved in vaccine manufacturing in the country, saying India did not have to depend on others for vaccines due to their efforts.

“Today, we can proudly say that the world’s largest vaccination programme is being run in our country. More than 54 crore people have received the vaccine doses,” he said.

Modi said had India not developed its own vaccine, its supply from outside would have been uncertain.

“The period of the coronavirus pandemic presented a big challenge in front of our country and the entire human race. Indians fought this fight with great grit and patience. We had many challenges. The countrymen performed extraordinarily in every field. It is due to the power of our entrepreneurs and scientists that the country is not dependent on anyone or any country for vaccines. Imagine for a moment, if we did not have the vaccine. How long did it take to get the polio vaccine?

“It was extremely difficult to get vaccines during such a major crisis, with the pandemic plaguing the entire world. India might or might not have received it and even if it had received the vaccine, there was no certainty of getting it in time,” he said.

The prime minister stated that online platforms like CoWIN and the system of giving digital vaccination certificates are attracting the attention of the world.

He said though it is true that compared to other countries, fewer people got infected with COVID-19 in India and that in comparison to the population of other countries, India managed to save more people from succumbing to the viral disease, it is not a matter of self-congratulation.

“It is not something to be proud of. We cannot rest on these laurels. To say that there was no challenge will become a restrictive thought in the path of our own development.

“Our systems are insufficient compared to that of the rich countries of the world, we do not have what the rich countries have. Moreover, we also have a greater population compared to the other countries. Our lifestyle is also different. Despite all our efforts, we could not save many people. So many children have been orphaned. This unbearable pain is going to remain forever,” Modi said.

He also lauded the scientists, doctors and paramedical staff for their role in combatting the pandemic. PTI