New Delhi , January 16 : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday got emotional while talking about the hardships faced by healthcare and frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
"This disease kept people away from their families. The mothers cried for their children and had to stay away. People could not meet their elderly admitted at hospitals. We could not bid adieu to those with proper rituals who died due to corona," said PM Modi, while speaking at the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive for the novel coronavirus via video conferencing. "The more we think about that time, we get sad. In that moment of despair, there were some who were endangering their lives. Our doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, ambulance driver, ASHA workers, sanitation worker, police personnel and other frontline workers gave priority to their responsibility towards humanity. They have to remain far from their families. They were not able to go to their home for many days. There are hundreds of them who could not return to their home. Society is paying back by vaccinating people related to healthcare," he added.
The Prime Minister said India is among the few countries, which despite hardships, provided medicines and medical help to over 150 countries around the world.
"Whether it is paracetamol, hydroxychloroquine, or testing equipment, India has made every possible effort to save people of other countries," he added.
"Today, when we have developed our own vaccine, the world is looking at India with hope. As our vaccination drive will move forward, other countries of world will benefit from it. India's vaccine and our production capability must be used for human interest, this is our commitment," he said.
Emphasising the following COVID-19 protocols, PM Modi said the start of vaccination does not mean people should stop wearing masks or violate maintaining social distancing.
"We must take another vow - Dawai bhi, Kadaai bhi," he said.
Billed as the world's largest vaccination programme, covering the entire length and breadth of the country, the drive aims to first inoculate millions of its healthcare and frontline workers and reach an estimated 3 crore people by the end of its first phase.
A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and Union Territories were virtually connected during the launch. Around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the inaugural day, the union health ministry has said.
In the first phase government and private sector health care workers, including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine.
India reported 15,158 new COVID-19 cases, 16,977 discharges and 175 deaths in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry's data on Saturday. The cumulative caseload in the country reached 1,05,42,841 including 2,11,033 active infections and 1,01,79715 recoveries. The death toll has climbed to 1,52,093.