Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday took a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine at All India Institute Of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, and asked those eligible for the shot to take it soon to defeat the coronavirus. He had taken his first jab on March 1 at the same hospital.
Taking to Twitter, he said, "Got my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS today. Vaccination is among the few ways we have, to defeat the virus. If you are eligible for the vaccine, get your shot soon. Register on CoWin.gov.in."
The Prime Minister also posted a picture of him receiving the jab. Narendra Modi has taken Covaxin, India's homegrown vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech. Official sources said the two nurses who administered the vaccine to the Prime Minister on Thursday are P Niveda from Puducherry and Nisha Sharma from Punjab. Niveda was also involved in administering him the first shot on March 1.
Modi took his second shot as COVID-19 cases in India hit a record high lending urgency to scale up vaccination. The Union government on Wednesday allowed the jabs at workplaces with about 100 eligible beneficiaries from April 11. It also rejected as baseless, allegations of shortage of the injection by Maharashtra and some other non-BJP ruled states.
The Union government also wrote to Maharashtra, Punjab and Delhi governments flagging below-par inoculation of eligible beneficiaries, including healthcare workers, after they demanded that vaccination be opened to all.
India recorded 1.12, lakh new cases on Wednesday, according to a PTI tally, taking the overall count to 1.29 crore. The single-day rise in coronavirus cases breached the one-lakh mark for the third time in four days. India saw a record daily rise on Tuesday, with over 1.15 lakh new infections.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi also batted for the COVID-19 vaccine for all, saying every Indian "deserves the chance to a safe life". Similar demands for relaxing the age restriction have been made by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
However, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan alleged that the states were trying to cover their "failures" and spread panic among the people by demanding vaccination for all without first inoculating enough of the eligible beneficiaries. People above the age of 45 are currently eligible for vaccination.