Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, wife get first COVID-19 shot

Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan and his wife on Tuesday took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The couple was administered the shot at the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute, which the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had informed about on Monday.

"Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, along with his wife Smt Nutan will take the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine. At: Delhi Heart and Lung Institute. At: 11am. On: March 2, 2021 (Tuesday)...," the health ministry had said in an alert.

On Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu were among the top leaders who took the first dose of the vaccine with the start of the next phase of the inoculation drive.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and NCP president Sharad Pawar also took the jab.

The governors of Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, and Punjab also received the shot, besides Union minister Jitendra Singh, as the country further opened its vaccination programme that started on January 16 for healthcare and sanitary workers.

Though the registration opened at 9 am, the PM was the first off the block. He visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi early in the morning to take his first dose and appeal to everyone eligible to get themselves inoculated.

"Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19," Modi tweeted.

"I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!" he said.

On Monday, thousands of people queued up at government and private medical facilities across the country. A total of 1,28,630 beneficiaries aged over 60 and 18,850 individuals in the second category of 45 and above with co-morbidities took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a provisional report by the Union Health Ministry released at night, as the cumulative number of anti-coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 147 lakh.

Also, the ministry said 25 lakh potential beneficiaries were registered on the Co-WIN portal on Monday, out of which 24.5 lakh are citizens and the remaining healthcare and frontline workers.

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