Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi
File Photo

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday sought to know from the government when COVID-19 vaccination process will start in India as multiple countries have started giving the jabs.

According to a Bloomberg tracker, more than 2.4 million (24 lakh) people in six countries have received the first COVID-19 shots. With nearly 7.7 lakh vaccinations, the US is ahead of the other countries in the mission while China and the UK are next.

In a tweet on Wednesday, Rahul Gandhi said many countries started COVID-19 vaccinations and asked the Centre when will it start in India.

His tweet read: "23 lakh people in the world have already received Covid vaccinations. China, US, UK, Russia have started... India ka number kab ayegaa, Modi ji? (When will India's turn come, Modi ji)."

According to the central government, there are currently nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different phases of clinical trials in India -- six are under clinical trials and three in the pre-clinical phase.

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday that India may begin vaccinating people January, with the first priority being the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

"I personally feel that maybe in January in any stage or any week, there can be a time when are in a position to give the first Covid vaccine shot to people of India," Dr Vardhan told ANI.

He also said that the government had prioritised who will get the vaccines after observing international trends and keeping in mind the guidelines of the World Health Organisation.

"The ideal time would be when we reach a point where everyone can be vaccinated. But if there is a limited number of vaccines, it is important to prioritise how who will be the first to get it. Before taking a decision, the government consulted experts, those in the ministries, people in the state governments, and those involved in making vaccines. These decisions have been made while observing international trends and WHO guidelines," the Union Minister said.

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