Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare virtually delivered the keynote address on ‘Reshape Tomorrow Summit’ organised by The Economic Times on Friday.
Reminding of the turmoil faced by the world in the last year and how it resulted in India’s stronger, wiser, more united and resilient emergence, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “I have often called 2020 the year of science. A vaccine development process that used to take many years, often decades, has been condensed to about 11 months. Just last January, research started with a previously unknown virus and we now have not just one, but several vaccines that will be administered to millions of people before year-end with several other types of COVID-19 vaccines also on the way.”
He noted that although both vaccines are being manufactured in India, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech has been developed in India under the ambit of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” showcasing our remarkable scientific acumen and vaccine development capability to the world. “People have embraced our ‘Made in India” vaccines, and it is due to this enthusiasm & trust, we crossed our last 1 Crore vaccinations in just under 4 days”, he added.
Dr Harsh Vardhan detailed India’s investment in the “Test, Track and Treat” strategy along with its fruitful Behavioral Change campaign as the bedrock of India’s highest recovery rate and miniscule fatality rate. He praised Minister of Finance, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman’s decision to allocate ₹35,000 crores for the COVID-19 vaccination drive in 2021-22 budget. He also shared the wisdom behind the designing of the priority cascade of different groups of beneficiaries proposed by National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) and National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC).
Dr Harsh Vardhan concluded by explaining how the India’s contribution to Global COVID Vaccination through the ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative is reshaping the post COVID era along with India’s footprint in it: “In these trying times when clamorous for ‘Vaccine Nationalism’ is on the rise, our beloved PM Sh Narendra Modi Ji, being a champion of global cooperation & humanity has led the way by example