Kolkata | Jagran News Desk: Hailing India's vaccination drive against the deadly COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the country reached the historic milestone of administering 150 crore vaccines on Friday. Inaugurating the second campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute in Kolkata via video conferencing, he also said more than 90 per cent of India's adult population has received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines.

"The country had started the new year with the beginning of vaccination of the youth from 15 to 18 years age group. Today, in the first week of the first month of the year, the country is achieving the historical feat of administering 1.5 billion COVID vaccine doses in less than a year's time," PM Modi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"It is a huge number in terms of statistics. It is not lesser than a surprise for most of the big countries of the world. But it is a symbol of the capability of the 130 crore citizens of India. It is a symbol of self-confidence and self-reliance," PM Modi added.

India had launched the COVID-19 vaccination drive in January 2021 after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) gave emergency use authorisation (EUA) to Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. On August 6, 2021, India's cumulative vaccination coverage crossed the 50 crore landmark. Later in October, the country surpassed the milestone of administering 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses.

PM Modi vows to give best healthcare benefits to poor

On Friday, PM Modi also vowed to give best possible healthcare benefits to the poor and the middle class of the country. He also renewed his government's commitment to bridging the demand-supply gap in the health sector with regard to the availability of doctors and modern infrastructure.

"The government has also reduced the cost of knee implants, and that has especially benefited our senior citizens. This has helped in annual reduction of Rs 1,500 crore, helping the citizens. The PM National Dialysis Programme has helped 12 lakh poor with free dialysis," ANI quoted PM Modi as saying.

Earlier in the day, he virtually inaugurated the second campus of Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) in West Bengal's Kolkata. The second campus of CNCI has been built at a cost of over Rs 530 crore, out of which around Rs 400 crores have been provided by the Union government and the rest by the West Bengal government, in the ratio of 75:25.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma