My dear countrymen, Merry Christmas to all of you! We are into the last week of this year. 2022 is just around the corner. All of you are busy preparing to welcome 2022. But along with enthusiasm and jubilation, this is also the time to be careful.
Today the infection is spreading in many countries of the world due to the new Corona variant Omicron. In India too, many people have been found to be infected with Omicron. I would urge all of you not to panic, but be careful and vigilant. We should not forget to wear masks and sanitize our hands regularly.
When the virus is mutating, our strength and confidence to face the challenge is also multiplying. Our innovative spirit is also growing. Today the country has 18 lakh isolation beds, five lakh oxygen- supported beds and 1.40 lakh ICU beds. If ICU and non-ICU beds are combined, then 90,000 beds are exclusively for children. Today more than 3,000 PSA Oxygen plants are operational in the country. About four lakh oxygen cylinders have been delivered across the country. States are being assisted in preparing buffer doses of essential medicines. They are also being provided adequate testing kits.
The experience in the fight against the global pandemic so far shows that following all the guidelines on an individual level is a great weapon to combat Corona. And the second weapon is vaccination. Realizing the seriousness of this disease, our country had long ago started working on manufacturing vaccines in mission mode. Along with research on vaccines, we also worked on the approval process, supply chain, distribution, training, IT support system and certification simultaneously.
As a result of these preparations, India started vaccinating its citizens from January 16 this year. It is the collective effort and willpower of all the citizens of the country that today India has surpassed the unprecedented and very difficult target of 141 million vaccine doses.
Today, more than 61 percent of India’s adult population has received both doses of the vaccines. Similarly, one dose has been administered to about 90 percent of the adult population. Today, every Indian should be proud that we launched such a safe vaccination campaign in the midst of the largest, most expansive and difficult geographical conditions in the world.
Many states and especially important states like Goa, Uttarakhand and Himachal in view of tourism have achieved the target of 100% single dose vaccination. It gives a sense of satisfaction when news of 100% vaccination comes from far away villages of the country.
This is proof of the strength of our health system and team delivery, of the dedication and commitment of our healthcare workers, and of the trust of the common man of the country in the discipline and science. The nasal vaccine and the world’s first DNA vaccine will be launched in our country soon.
India’s fight against Corona has been based on scientific principles, scientific opinions and scientific methods from the very beginning. Vaccination campaign has been going on in the country for the last 11 months. The countrymen are also realizing its benefits. Their daily life is becoming normal. Economic activities are also encouraging compared to many countries of the world.
We all know that Corona is not over yet. Therefore, vigilance is very important. We have worked tirelessly to keep the country and the countrymen safe. When the vaccination campaign was launched, it was decided on the basis of scientific suggestions who should be given the first dose, what should be the interval between the first and second doses, when the healthy people should get vaccinated, when the Corona infected people should get vaccines and when those suffering from co-morbidities should be vaccinated. Such decisions were made consistently and they have also proved to be very helpful in handling the situation. India has taken its decisions on the advice of Indian scientists and according to its situation.
Currently, Omicron is hogging the news. There have been differing experiences and assessments in the world. Indian scientists are also keeping a close eye on it and working on it. Eleven months have passed since the launch of our vaccination drive. Today, some decisions have been made after scientists reviewed the situation in the wake of the experiences in the world. Today is Atal ji’s birthday, it is the Christmas festival, so I felt that this decision should be shared with all of you.
Children aged between 15 and 18 will now be vaccinated in the country. It will be launched on Monday, January 3, in 2022. This decision will not only strengthen the country’s fight against Corona, but will also reduce the anxiety of our children going to schools and colleges and their parents.
We all have experience that Corona warriors, healthcare and frontline workers have a huge contribution in keeping the country safe in this fight. They still spend most of their time serving Corona patients. Therefore, from the point of precaution, the government has decided that a ‘precaution dose’ of vaccine will also be started for healthcare and frontline workers. It will be launched on Monday, January 10, 2022.
The experience of Corona vaccination so far is that those who are older and are already suffering from some serious diseases, it is advisable to take ‘precaution dose’. Keeping this in mind, citizens above 60 years of age and with co-morbidities will have the option of ‘precaution dose’ of the vaccine on the advice of their doctors. This will also start from January 10.
I would like to request you to avoid the ongoing efforts to create rumors, confusion and fear. Together we have launched the world’s largest vaccination campaign so far. In the time to come, we have to speed it up and expand it. The efforts of all of us will strengthen the country in this fight against Corona.
Many thanks to all of you!