Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 76th edition of “Mann Ki Baat” urged the nation not to fall prey to any rumours about the vaccine and said the free vaccine provided for those above 45-years of age will continue.
PM Modi’s monthly radio address comes at a time when the country is in the midst of the virulent second wave of the pandemic. The States ruled by the Opposition parties have been attacking the Centre for forcing them to buy the vaccine at a higher price than it is available to the Centre.
“I urge people not to fall prey to any rumour about vaccines. You all know that people above 45 years of age get a free vaccine. Now from May 1 onwards, the vaccine is going to be made available for every person above 18 years. The programme of free vaccines by the government of India that is going on now will continue. I appeal to the States too to extend the benefit of this free vaccine campaign of the government of India to the maximum number of the people,” Mr. Modi said.
The Prime Minister conceded that the second wave is “testing our patience”. “The second wave is testing the limits of all of us at enduring misery. Many of our near and dear ones have left us untimely. After successfully confronting the first wave of corona, the country was full of enthusiasm, full of self-confidence, but this storm has shaken the country,” he said.
Mr. Modi took the opportunity to speak to two doctors, two nursing staff and an ambulance driver. He first spoke to Dr. Shashank Joshi from Mumbai asking him for clarifications on the difference between the first wave and the second one. Dr. Joshi said the spread now is much faster than the first wave. The primary difference he said is that this time the young and children are also getting infected.
The Prime Minister also asked Dr. Joshi to address the question of high demand for certain medicines like the Remdesivir. “There is no need to run after Remdesivir. It has a limited role and should be taken strictly as per the doctor’s advice,” he said, advising instead to do ‘pranayam’ (breathing) exercises.
“I urge you to seek information only through authentic sources. You may consult your family doctors. Many doctors are sharing information through social media, consulting through phone and WhatsApp. There are several hospitals who have put information on their website,” Mr. Modi said.
Mr. Modi discussed the vaccine hesitancy with Dr. Naveed Nazeer Shah from the Government Medical College in Srinagar. He also commended Dr. Shah for working hard during Ramzan. He also spoke to a nurse from the BR Ambedkar Medical College Raipur, Surekha, senior nursing in KC Jindal Hospital in Bengaluru and ambulance driver Prem Verma, commending them for their services in these difficult times.