PM Narendra Modi addresses vaccine hesitancy in Mann Ki Baat
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday urged people to get vaccinated to protect themselves against the coronavirus and not fall for rumours. In his monthly radio address, Mann Ki Baat, the PM said India has achieved the distinction of vaccinating millions in a single day and it is imperative that vaccine hesitancy, based on rumours, is addressed.
Talking to residents of Madhya Pradesh’s Betul, the PM said more than 310 million beneficiaries in the country have taken the vaccine so far. He cited his own example and said he’s taken both the doses of the vaccine and so has his mother who is nearly 100. The PM also cited the example of Bandipora in Kashmir where nearly all have been vaccinated in the village of Weyun. According to the union health ministry portal on Sunday afternoon, 321,760,077 or more than 321 million vaccine doses have been administered so far across the country.
“Our fight against Corona continues and together in this battle we are creating newer milestones. Only a few days ago our country did something unprecedented; on June 21 as part of the next phase of vaccination, we inoculated 86 lakh people in a single day. The free vaccination drive was carried out in a single day,” he said, referring to the fact that no country other than China has managed to vaccinate more people in a day. The chairman of the working group on Covid-19 vaccines in India Dr NK Arora had then said that the target was to jab close to 10 million people in a single day by August.
On Saturday the PM reviewed the government’s response to the pandemic and expressed satisfaction at the rate of vaccination. In the wake of an anticipated third wave, he instructed for the outreach to be widened with the help of NGOs, said his office.
Referring to the mass vaccination campaign that covers those above 18 years of age, the PM said a year ago people wanted to know when the vaccines will come. “Today we are giving millions of shots in a single day. This is the strength of new India. To ensure safe vaccines for every citizen we are making constant efforts at many places to eradicate vaccine hesitancy,” he said.
The PM also urged people not to let their guard down.
“It is a disease in which the virus keeps changing its form. Do not believe anyone who says that the pandemic is over. And we have two ways to save ourselves, the first is to wear a mask and follow the corona protocol and the second is to take the vaccine,” he said.
He said people should listen to scientists and doctors and not to those who spread rumours. “Stay away from rumours and ensure that [people in] villages take the vaccine as well; not only in your own village but also in villages around yours,” he told a resident of Betul during the radio broadcast.
Referring to the steps taken in the villages to adhere to the Covid protocol, he said the wisdom and capability shown by the villagers and tribal communities during the pandemic will become case studies in future. “People in villages made quarantine centres keeping in mind the local needs and adhered to Covid protocols. They never let anyone go hungry, continued agricultural work... and did not allow supply chains to be affected…We have to do the same for the vaccination drive to ensure that every villager is vaccinated and to create awareness about this,” he said.
The PM also urged people to take steps for conservation of rainwater and said it will not only address the current needs, but is also important for the future generations. Water conservation is a key programme of the government that is aiming to provide water connections to all households by 2024.
“Ask yourself a question, everyone wants to be successful, but what is the mantra? The mantra is consistency. Monsoon season has arrived and when it rains, it is not only for us but for the future generations as well. Rainwater percolates and improves the groundwater level so it is important to conserve and harvest rainwater. It is a form of service to the nation,” he said.
He also urged the countrymen to show their support for the athletes who are Tokyo-bound for the Olympics.
“Being grounded also always helps us stay in touch with our roots. Success is especially sweet when it is preceded by days of struggle,” he said referring to the athletes, some of whom faced economic challenges and hardships.
“We should support these people with an open mind. On social media you can wish them with the hashtag #cheer4India and encourage them... We should all support our players bound for Tokyo,” he said.
In the wake of cases of violence against healthcare workers, the PM said July 1 is celebrated as doctors’ day and we are all grateful for the contribution of the doctors during the pandemic. “Without caring for their own lives they took care of people, therefore this year national doctors’ day becomes even more special…It becomes our responsibility that we express our gratitude and love to them and encourage them,” he said.
“It is also Chartered accountants day on July 1. A few years ago I had requested chartered accountants to create a global level audit firm. Today I want to remind them, chartered accountants can play a very affirmative role in bringing transparency to the economy,” he said.
He said as the country prepares to celebrate the 75th year of Independence the mantra should be India First. “All our decisions should be based on India First,” he said.