New Delhi: India has scripted history, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday as the COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the country surpassed the 100 crore milestone, and asserted that it now has a strong protective shield to combat the biggest pandemic in 100 years.
Modi hailed the vaccination landmark as a triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit
of 130 crore Indians and visited Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) Hospital where he interacted with healthcare and frontline workers besides those being administered the jabs.
Speaking via video conferencing after inaugurating the Infosys Foundation Vishram Sadan at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on the Jhajjar Campus of New Delhi AIIMS, Modi said this day of October 21, 2021 has been recorded in history.
"To combat the biggest pandemic in 100 years, the country now has a strong protective shield of 100 crore vaccine doses. This achievement belongs to India, every citizen of India," he said, expressing gratitude to the those engaged in the programme.
Modi tweeted, "India scripts history. We are witnessing the triumph of Indian science, enterprise and collective spirit of 130 crore Indians. Congrats India on crossing 100 crore vaccinations. Gratitude to our doctors, nurses and all those who worked to achieve this feat."
He added, "Today, when India has achieved a #VaccineCentury, I went to a vaccination centre at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The vaccine has brought pride and protection in the lives of our citizens."
From discussing beneficiaries' hobbies to talking about the experience of healthcare workers, Modi touched upon various subjects during his visit to the RML Hospital.
He also visited the vaccination centre at the hospital after the milestone was achieved.
"Today, when India has achieved a #VaccineCentury, I went to a vaccination centre at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital. The vaccine has brought pride and protection in the lives of our citizens," he tweeted.
During his interaction, Modi asked a wheelchair-bound beneficiary, who had come to get her vaccine dose, about her hobbies.
"The PM asked me what are your hobbies and I told him I like singing, then he asked me to sing two lines of a song which I did," she said.
For the beneficiary's mother, it was "like a dream that the prime minister of India is meeting us".
Arun Rai, who is differently-abled, said the prime minister has honoured them by calling them 'Divyang'.
"I told the prime minister that by calling us Divyang, you have given us so much respect and we feel so good about it. He said look at the paralympic players and the laurels they are bringing to the country. I told him that I used to be cricket player as well," Rai said.
Modi stood beside Rai as he was administered his first vaccine dose.
He interacted with healthcare workers and a security guard too.
India took 279 days to administer 100 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to Union Health Ministry data.
The countrywide vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with healthcare workers getting inoculated in the first phase. The vaccination of frontline workers started from February 2.
The next phase of COVID-19 vaccination commenced from March 1 for people over 60 years of age and those aged 45 and above with specified co-morbid conditions.
The country launched vaccination for all people aged over 45 years from April 1.
The government then decided to expand its vaccination drive by allowing all above 18 to be vaccinated from May 1.