Over 3,000 personnel get Covid vaccine
The armed forces on Saturday kicked off the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccine drive at multiple locations across the country including Ladakh, Delhi, Mumbai and Visakhapatnam, where thousands of “Covid warriors”, including military doctors, nurses and paramedics were vaccinated against the coronavirus on a day India rolled out the biggest vaccination campaign in the world, officials familiar with the development said.
No adverse events were reported on the opening day of the drive in the armed forces. In the army alone, a total of 3,129 health care workers were vaccinated on the first day, the officials said.
While top priority is being given to Covid warriors who are at the at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic, frontline soldiers including those deployed in the Ladakh theatre are among the military personnel who will get the vaccine ahead of others, the officials said. Other frontline soldiers, including naval personnel deployed on submarines, will also be administered the vaccine on priority.
Military doctors, paramedics and frontline soldiers deployed in eastern Ladakh, where India and China are locked in a tense border standoff, will be among the set of armed forces personnel to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, Hindustan Times reported on Friday. More than 12,000 doses of the vaccine have reached Ladakh of which around 4,000 have been earmarked for armed forces personnel to protect them against Covid-19.
“The vaccination drive has begun across India including Ladakh where military medical personnel were vaccinated today. Frontline soldiers will also be vaccinated soon,” one of the officials cited above said on condition of anonymity.
All earmarked military hospitals have been supplied with the first consignment of doses and the vaccination drive will gather momentum in the coming days, said a second official. Sepoy Sunil Das from the Army Medical Corps was the first one to receive the shot in Leh, he said.
In Delhi, Covid warriors, including senior military doctors, received shots at the Army’s Base Hospital, Army Hospital (Research and Referral) and the Armed Forces Clinic, the Indian Army said on Twitter. The Base Hospital is the military’s largest Covid hospital.
In Mumbai, the first phase of the vaccination drive was rolled out at the naval hospital Asvini with its commandant Rear Admiral Sheila Mathai receiving the first dose of vaccine, officials said. Other healthcare workers (HCWs) were also vaccinated against the disease.
“A total of 100 HCWs including Medical Officers, Nursing & paramedical staff were vaccinated on Day 1. The session was concluded without any adverse events reported. The next phase will target frontline workers & personnel deployed on operational platforms,” the chief defence PRO in Mumbai said in a statement on Twitter.
In Visakhapatnam, the Eastern Naval Command chief Vice Admiral Atul Kumar Jain launched the vaccination drive at the naval hospital Kalyani. The vaccine was given to 40 Covid warriors at the hospital, officials said.
The vaccination campaign, marking the final phase in India’s long battle against the pandemic, will be held daily from 9am to 5pm, barring the days earmarked for routine immunisation programme.