Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday termed a "revolutionary step" the launch of the COVID-19 vaccination drive and recalled efforts of health and frontline workers during the pandemic period.
Launching the vaccination drive at the COVID care centre in Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) here, the chief minister said the "corona warriors" had selflessly treated the COVID-19 patients when there was no remedy available.
"Those days still give me shivers. The situation was really adverse and grim then. Hospitals were flooded with COVID-19 patients. How to proceed was a big question before everyone and no solution was in sight. Everyone was under pressure because of the situation," he said.
Thackeray said it was due to efforts of health workers and corona warriors that this COVID centre now has no patient to treat.
He also hailed the commitment of health workers and corona warriors to save people.
"I hope that the number of COVID care centres without patients becomes more in the coming days," he said.
"As you are aware, not just in Mumbai but everywhere in the world, the existing infrastructure of hospitals fell short to treat COVID-19 patients. This COVID care centre was erected on a war footing in just 15 days," he said.
Appealing the people to not let their guard down even though vaccines are being made available, the chief minister said that "wearing a face mask is the best vaccine available".
"People must continue wearing masks in public places even after receiving vaccine doses. The way COVID-19 cases have once again found in large numbers in some of the countries, we may face a similar situation.
"To avoid this, the protocol of wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance and washing hands frequently has to be followed strictly," he said.
Around 4,000 health workers will be given the vaccine doses at 40 booths in the nine vaccination centres in Mumbai on the first day of the drive.
Mumbai has received 1.39 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine from Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
Dr Rajesh Dere, head of the BKC centre has said 500 health workers, including 150 from the BKC Covid centre, will be vaccinated at the BKC Complex centre.