Sat, 16 January 2021
No inoculation in Mumbai for next 2 days

Timeline  Refresh

Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo
Photograph: Kunal Patil/PTI Photo
23:41   No inoculation in Mumbai for next 2 days
The inoculation drive for coronavirus will be suspended in Mumbai for the next two days owing to technical issues with the Co-WIN app, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said on Saturday night. Co-WIN app allows registration for the vaccination.

'Digital registration is mandatory for COVID-19 vaccination, but on the first day of the drive today, the government had allowed offline registration in case of any technical problem,' the civic body said in a statement.

However, the state government has now directed that all further registration should be made through the app, it added.

In view of this direction and problems with the Co-WIN app, inoculation in Mumbai will be suspended while the Union government removes the problem, an official said.

As to the rest of Maharashtra, a state government official said that no inoculation had been planned for the next two days in any case.

On the first day of the drive, of 4,000 healthcare workers scheduled for vaccination at nine centres in the city, only 1,926 were administered the jab, the BMC data showed.

The highest 289 healthworkers were given vaccines at Rajawadi hospital, followed by 266 at Bhabha hospital, and 262 at Cooper hospital which was also part of the nationwide live launch of the drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Only 39 healthworkers got the jab at the state-run JJ Hospital, while 220 persons were vaccinated at BKC centre from where chief minister Uddhav Thackeray launched statewide inoculation drive.   -- PTI
23:16   Over 3,000 military medics get vaccine jabs
The armed forces on Saturday administered coronavirus vaccine to over 3,000 military doctors, nurses and healthcare personnel on the first day of the nation-wide vaccination drive.

Sources in the security establishment said 3,129 health care workers of the Indian Army, deployed across the country including in Ladakh and some parts of Kashmir, were given the first doses.

They said the vaccination drive will be gradually expanded and will cover the personnel deployed at frontline bases also.

According to Navy officials, the COVID-19 vaccination drive for healthcare workers in the force was inaugurated in Delhi in the presence of Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh.

They said around 200 healthcare workers of the Indian Navy were administered the first doses on Saturday.

The Indian Navy carried out the vaccination drive in its eastern, southern and western naval command areas, theofficials said.

In Mumbai, the first phase of immunisation against COVID-19 was initiated at naval hospital INHS Asvini.

"The vaccination drive was rolled out with Rear Admiral Sheila Mathai, Commanding Officer, INHS Asvini receiving the first dose of the vaccine.

"A total of 100 healthcare workers including medical officers, nursing officers and other paramedical staff were vaccinated on day one there," said an official.

The Indian Air Force also launched the vaccination drive for its healthcare workers, but the number of people who were given the first doses was not immediately known.

India on Saturday rolled out the world's largest inoculation programme against COVID-19.

'Our country doctors, nurses, paramedical staff, policemen and other frontline workers who waged war against Coronavirus are now going to get a protective shield in the form of a vaccine.

'In the next phase, the vaccination campaign will reach 300 million people. It will certainly be a huge achievement,' Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted.

Singh said the whole country is thankful to the scientists who have played a role in the roll-out of India's indigenous COVID-19 vaccine.

'Today Prime Minister @narendramodi has taken decisive steps towards ensuring victory over the coronavirus crisis by launching the biggest vaccination campaign not only in India but of the whole world,' he said.  -- PTI

IMAGE: Rear Admiral Sheila Mathai, VSM, Commanding Officer, inaugurates the COVID-19 vaccination drive at INHS Asvini, in Mumbai, Saturday. Navy PRO via PTI Photo
23:02   Black buck case: Salman summoned on Feb 6
The district and sessions court here has asked actor Salman Khan to appear before it on February 6, while exempting him from appearance on Saturday.

Khan was asked to appear in the court on Saturday in connection with the hearing of a petition challenging a trial court order sentencing him to five years of imprisonment.

"We submitted an application seeking exemption from appearance considering the pandemic situation and the possible risk to his safety during travel," the actor's counsel, Nishant Bora, said.

Granting permission, Sessions Judge Devendra Kachhawaha directed Khan to appear in the court on the next date of hearing on February 6.

Khan was sentenced to five years of imprisonment by a trial court in March 2018 for poaching two black bucks in Jodhpur on October 1-2, 1998, while co-accused Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre, Neelam and Tabu and a local, Dushyant Singh, were acquitted in the case.

Khan has challenged his sentence, while the Rajasthan government has contested the acquittal of the other accused in the case in the sessions court.  -- PTI
22:08   Co-WIN issues reported on Day 1 resolved: Govt
Since it was the first day of vaccination drive across India on Saturday, a few issues came up with Co-WIN digital platform including delay in uploading beneficiary list at some session sites and a few healthcare workers who got vaccinated were not scheduled for today's session.

However, resolutions were provided for both the issues, said ministry of health and family welfare.

Speaking about the issues with Co-WIN digital platform on day one of COVID vaccine drive and resolutions provided for the same, Manohar Agnani, Additional Secretary of Union health ministry in a press briefing said, "Delay in uploading of the beneficiary list at some session sites was reported and its resolution was also provided--System, performance and speed improved and being further optimised."

"Another issue faced was, Healthcare workers (HCW) were vaccinated though they were not scheduled for today's session. As a resolution, the process was evolved and states have been advised to upload details of such HCW in Co-WIN database," he added.

The Union health ministry further stated that the top five states where the beneficiaries were administered COVID-19 vaccine jab today include: Andhra Pradesh with total 332 Covishield sessions, Bihar: 301 ((Both type of sessions held i.e. Covishield and Covaxin), Karnataka:242 (both sessions), West Bengal: 183 (Covishield session) and Maharastra: 285 (both sessions).

"The Serum Institute of India (SII) produced COVISHIELD was supplied to all States and Union Territories (UT).

"Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN was supplied to 12 States. Total 3,351 sessions were held across the country with both the vaccines," the health ministry said.

A total of 1,91,181 beneficiaries got vaccinated for COVID-19 on day one of the massive nationwide vaccination drive, according to the Union health ministry.

Co-WIN is an online digital platform developed by the Union Ministry of health and family welfare.

It is being used to drive the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the country.

It is facilitating real-time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature, and individualised tracking of beneficiaries for the COVID-19 vaccine.

This digital platform is assisting programme managers across national, state, and District levels while conducting vaccination sessions.

It is also helping them track beneficiary coverage, beneficiary dropouts, sessions planned v/s sessions held, and vaccine utilisation.

The platform enables national and state administrators to view and sort data of beneficiaries as per their gender, age & co-morbidity.

They can also view the metadata of vaccinations and Adverse Event Following Immunisation (AEFI) reported from constituent districts across States & UTs.

District administrators can additionally create session sites at any location by entering the pin-code, followed by specifying the locality or villages and subsequently assigning a vaccinator.

Billed as the world's largest vaccination program, covering the entire length and breadth of the country, the drive aims to first inoculate millions of its healthcare and frontline workers and reach an estimated 3 crore people by the end of its first phase.   -- ANI

IMAGE: A medic records details of frontline workers during the administering of COVID-19 vaccine at Howrah district Hospital, Saturday. Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI Photo
21:23   TMC MLAs, leaders vaccinated on Day 1, spark row
Several Trinamool Congress leaders, including two MLAs, were among the people who received the COVID-19 vaccine in West Bengal's Purba Bardhaman district on Saturday, while many healthcare workers alleged that they could not get the jab though they were asked to come for it.

District health officials said that these leaders are all associated with different hospitals as members of the Patients' Welfare Committees, making them eligible for the vaccination programme in the first round.

The vaccination drive at the Bhatar State General Hospital began with local TMC MLA Subhash Mondal getting the first shot.

Later, former TMC MLA Banamali Hazra, Zilla Parisha Karmadakshya Jahar Bagdi and Bhatar Panchayat Samity Public Health in-charge Mahendra Hazra also received the vaccine.

At Katwa Sub-divisional Hospital, local MLA Rabindranath Chatterjee of TMC was among the 34 people who received the vaccine on the first day.

The Centre is targetting to vaccinate three crore healthcare and frontline workers in the first phase.

At a meeting with the chief ministers on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested that public representatives, a reference to politicians, should not be part of this initial exercise.

"This is my personal suggestion and no one should take it otherwise. We public representatives are not part of it," he had said.

Even as the TMC leaders received the vaccine on the first day, several healthcare workers alleged that though they were asked to come for the jab, they could not get it.

A nurse at the Burdwan Medical College and Hospital said that she was asked to report for the vaccination by 9 am and though she appeared for it on time, she did not get the shot.

Some other nurses at the hospital also levelled similar allegations. The district's Chief Medical Officer of Health Pranab Roy said that the public representatives who received the vaccines are part of the Patients' Welfare Committees at different hospitals.

"Since they are associated with the hospitals to ensure good services, they are also eligible for the vaccine. There is nothing irregular in it," he said.

Bharatiya Janata Party's district general secretary Ramakrishna Chakraborty said that in the first phase the frontline workers should get the vaccines.

"But the manner in which the TMC leaders queued to get the vaccine, it has gone beyond all bounds of shame. On the other side, the frontline workers had to return home without getting the shot," he alleged.

Trinamool Congress district spokesperson Prosenjit Das said that there was no wrong with the leaders of his party getting the vaccine because they have all survived COVID-19.

"Officially, those who have survived COVID-19 will be the first to receive the vaccine. So there is no issue of political benefit in it.

"The BJP does not know the rules. It is their job to complain without knowing the rules," Das claimed.

In the Alipurduar district, TMC MLA Saurabh Chakrbarty's name was on the top of the list for Covid vaccination.

However, he claimed that he was unaware of it.

"I am not taking any vaccine now and I have informed the health department. First, the common people of Alipurduar should get the vaccine and then I will take my shot. I am not aware as I had not applied for any vaccination," Chakraborty said.   -- PTI
20:39   R Day preparations reviewed amid farmers' stir
Ahead of Republic Day, Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava on Saturday held a review meeting in which he also took stock of the arrangements at farmers' agitation sites to maintain law and order, officials said.

In the meeting held with senior officers, the police chief took stock of anti-terrorism measures as well as action taken against criminals involved in various cases, including burglary, violation of the Excise Act and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, and gambling cases, they said.

Shrivastava also reviewed pending cases under POCSO and crime against women, officials said.

Senior officers examined proposed action against listed criminals under surveillance, including jail/bail/parole released criminals and 'Bad Characters', according to a police statement.

"The officers have been directed to increase vigil through picket checking and update history sheets. An action plan for police stations was also reviewed for formation of anti-snatching teams and identification of areas prone to organised crime like liquor/drugs trade and gambling," said Anil Mittal, Additional PRO (Delhi Police).

The district DCPs were also advised to take optimum use of crime teams for investigation, he said.   -- PTI
19:44   1,65,714 vaccinated till 5.30 pm on Day 1: Govt
The Union government has said that 1,65,714 beneficiaries were inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines till 5.30 pm across India on first day.

COVID-19 vaccines -- Covaxin and Covishield -- administered at 3,351 session sites across India, the government said.

16,755 personnel were involved in organising COVID-19 vaccination sessions, the Union health ministry said.

"COVID-19 inoculation drive successfully conducted on first day, no case of post-vaccination hospitalisation reported so far," it said.   -- PTI

IMAGE: A medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a frontline worker at AMRI-Dhakuria hospital, in Kolkata, on Saturday. Photograph: PTI Photo
19:16   My turn in 3rd phase: Shivraj on vaccination
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Saturday said he will receive the COVID-19 vaccine after corona warriors and frontline health staff 'in the third phase as per the protocol set by the Centre'.

He said the vaccine was completely safe and asked opposition parties not to mislead people on the coronavirus pandemic.

"The priority of vaccination has been set. The vaccine is completely safe and I will receive it when my turn comes as per protocol. I don't have any special right as CM," he told reporters.

"My turn will come in the third phase as per the protocol set by the Centre, after the vaccine is administered to corona warriors and frontline workers," he added.

Chouhan, who earlier spoke to vaccine beneficiaries at Hamidia Hospital in Bhopal, asked opposition parties to not mislead people and to stay united 'at least on this issue (COVID-19 fight)'.

The drive, which began in 150 centres across the state, including 12 in capital Bhopal, will see 4.17 lakh health care workers getting vaccinated in the first phase, for which it had received 5,06,500 doses of Covishield vaccine so far, officials informed.

Of them, 57,000 health workers will be vaccinated in the first week of the drive, and 55,000 in the second week, state health minister Prabhuram Choudhary had said earlier.   -- PTI
18:55   India only country to launch 2 vaccines: Yogi
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath reviewed the COVID-19 vaccine administration at Balrampur hospital in Lucknow on Saturday.

"102 health workers would receive the vaccine at the hospital today... The second dose is required after 28 days, and the vaccine will require 12-15 days to stimulate its effect. Even after getting the vaccine, wearing mask and social distancing are necessary," said Adityanath.

"This day is full of new excitement and exaltation for our citizens... We heard a very important address given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The entire world was battling this pandemic, and in India, this vaccination drive is being seen as the final fight against this virus," Adityanath said on the rollout of the vaccine.

"India is the only country in the world, where two vaccines are launched in one go. Both the vaccines are quite cheap and good. With this, we will make sure that we achieve PM Modi's dream of 'Make in India'," said CM on the launch of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines and congratulated Indian scientists and PM Modi for achieving this feat.

He warned about the 'some selfish elements' who are spreading rumours against the two vaccines and appealed to the media to play a special role in these special times.

"Health workers will be given the vaccine in the first phase. After that, Corona warriors including Police officials will get the dose, and in the third and final phase, people with chronic diseases and above the age of 50 will get the vaccine," said the CM.

"We will strive forward under PM Modi's leadership, and everyone will have to adhere to the guidelines set by the government," he said.  -- ANI
18:08   100 former civil servants raise questions over PM-CARES Fund
A group of 100 former civil servants wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday raising questions over transparency in the PM-CARES Fund.
They said it is necessary that, for reasons of probity and adherence to standards of public accountability, the financial details of receipts and expenditures be made available in order to avoid doubts of wrongdoing.
"We have been keenly following the ongoing debate about the Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations, or 'PM-CARES', -- a fund created for the benefit of people affected by the COVID pandemic. Both the purpose for which it has been created as well as the way it has been administered have left a number of questions unanswered," they said in the letter.
"It is essential that the position and stature of the Prime Minister is kept intact by ensuring total transparency in all dealings the Prime Minister is associated with," they said.
The letter was signed by former IAS officers Anita Agnihotri, S P Ambrose, Sharad Behar, Sajjad Hassan, Harsh Mander, P Joy Oommen, Aruna Roy, former diplomats Madhu Bhaduri, K P Fabian, Deb Mukharji, Sujatha Singh and former IPS officers A S Dulat, P G J Nampoothiri and Julio Ribeiro among others.
In March last year, the Centre set up the Prime Minister's Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund with the primary objective to deal with any kind of emergency situation like the one currently posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and provide relief to those affected. -- PTI
18:07   Army boosted country's morale during LAC row: Rajnath
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said the Indian Army has boosted the morale of the country and also enabled the people to hold their heads high during the border standoff with China.
Singh said this while addressing a gathering here during the 'bhoomipujan' and foundation stone laying ceremony of a new Command Hospital.
"The charismatic (karishmaayi) performance by the Army during the India-China standoff has boosted the morale of the country and also enabled the citizens to hold their heads high," he said, drawing a thunderous applause from the crowd.
Army chief General MM Naravane and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath were also present at the programme. -- PTI 
18:01   116 infected with UK Covid strain in India: Govt
The number of people who have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 in the country has climbed to 116, the Union Health Ministry said on Saturday.
"The total number of persons found infected with the new UK variant genome is 116," the ministry said.
All these persons have been kept in single-room isolation in designated healthcare facilities by respective state governments, the ministry earlier had said.
Their close contacts have also been put under quarantine. Comprehensive contact tracing has been initiated for co-travellers, family contacts and others. Genome sequencing on other specimens is going on, the ministry said.
The situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium) labs.
The presence of the new UK variant has already been reported by several countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore. -- PTI 
17:59   HDFC Bank Q3 net rises 14.36 pc to Rs 8,760 cr
The country's largest private sector lender HDFC Bank on Saturday reported a 14.36 per cent jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 8,760 crore for the December quarter.
At the standalone level, the net profit for the three-month period grew 18.09 per cent to Rs 8,758.29 crore.
Its total income increased to Rs 37,522 crore on a standalone basis compared to Rs 36,039 crore in the year-ago period.
The results, the first earnings to be declared by the bank under new chief executive and managing director Sashidhar Jagdishan, displayed an improvement in the asset quality.
The gross non-performing assets ratio stood at 0.81 per cent of the total assets as against 1.42 per cent in the year-ago period and 1.08 per cent at the end of the preceding September quarter, the bank said. -- PTI  
17:53   I Am Nidhi Razdan, Not A Harvard Professor, But...
Journalist Nidhi Razdan, who in June 2020 announced her decision to quit NDTV, where she worked for 21 years, to join Harvard University to teach journalism, on Friday posted on Twitter that the job offer was part of an elaborate phishing exercise. 

"I have been the victim of a very serious phishing attack. I'm putting this statement out to set the record straight about what I've been through,' she wrote on Twitter.

Nidhi in her NDTV column describes how she was conned with a job offer at Harvard University.
17:33   PM should get himself vaccinated first: Ambedkar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi should first get himself vaccinated for COVID-19 to clear doubts in the minds of people, Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi leader Prakash Ambedkar said on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters, Ambedkar said the VBA will hold protests across Maharashtra on January 27 in support of the ongoing agitation by farmers at borders of Delhi for the repeal of three new farm laws.
"The prime minister and CM (Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray) should take the COVID-19 vaccine first and clear all doubts in the minds of the people. Once they get the vaccine shot, I am also ready to get myself vaccinated," he told reporters.
He said the upcoming agitation for farmers will be held by Muslim volunteers of the VBA.
"During Delhi's Shahin Baugh protest, Sikhs had guarded agitators, now Muslims will show their support through this agitation," Ambedkar said and named the proposed protest as "Kisan Baugh".
Ambedkar said Opposition parties, including the Congress, the CPI and the CPI-M have failed to support the agitation of farmers.
"Are these parties paralysed? Rahul Gandhi remained present for the agitation but his party was not seen," he said.
Queried about the demand raised by the ruling Shiv Sena to rename Aurangabad city as 'Sambhajinagar', Ambedkar said Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj had no links with this city. 
"This renaming movement smacks of anti-Muslim sentiment," he added.
He said the VBA will contest the upcoming Aurangabad Municipal Corporation election on the issue of water scarcity without forming any alliance. -- PTI 
17:10   BJP names Shahnawaz Hussain its MLC candidate from Bihar
Former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's national spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain was named by the party on Saturday its MLC candidate from Bihar. 
The announcement marks Hussain's return to electoral politics, albeit to the state level, for the first time since 2014 when he lost the Lok Sabha election from Bhagalpur. He was not given ticket in the 2019 polls. 
In the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, he had held the civil aviation portfolio among other charges. 
The party also named six more candidates for the legislative council polls in Uttar Pradesh. 
They are Kunwar Manvendra Singh, Govind Narayan Shukla, Salil Bishnoi, Ashwini Tyagi, Dharmveer Prajapati and Surendra Chaudhary. 
Polling for 12 legislative council seats in Uttar Pradesh will be held on January 28.
The win of BJP candidates in these seats is all but certain owing to the party's strength in respective state assemblies. -- PTI
16:31   History will remember Rahul for standing up to 'present dictatorial regime': Mehbooba
History will remember Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for standing up to the "present dictatorial regime", Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said on Saturday.
Taking to Twitter, Mufti said it is a fact that new India is in the grip of a select few and Gandhi is the only politician who dares to speak the truth.
"Ridicule Rahul Gandhi all you want but he's the only politician who dares to speak the truth. Its a fact that new India is in the grip of a select few & crony capitalists. History will remember him for standing upto the present dictatorial regime (sic)," the PDP chief said.  
In another tweet, the former chief minister of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state said the Centre had "unleashed" its "pet agency" -- the National Investigation Agency -- on farmer unions protesting against the three agri laws.
"GOIs pet agency NIA is now being unleashed on farmer unions. The rot that has set into India's premier terror investigative agency can be gauged from the manner in which they are fabricating charges on Kashmiris, farmers & those who dare to dissent (sic)," she said. -- PTI 
Manish Kumar gets vaccine in Delhi
Manish Kumar gets vaccine in Delhi
16:29   Feel proud: Delhi man after getting Covid vaccine
Manish Kumar, a 34-year-old machine operator at AIIMS who became the first person in Delhi to get the COVID-19 vaccine, said he had himself asked the hospital authorities to be vaccinated first as his colleagues chosen for the exercise were "scared" to get the jab.
Kumar, whose mother Laxmi Rani also works at the hospital, said he was not at all nervous, had a good sleep and was "proud of getting the vaccine".
He was administered a COVID-19 vaccine during the launch of the nationwide vaccination programme at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the presence of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday.
"I did not know that I am the first person to receive the vaccine. I had a good sleep last night, came here (hospital) in the morning and talked to the other staff who were to get the shot," he said.
"Many of them were scared. So, I went to my seniors and said I should be given the vaccine first. I wanted to prove to my colleagues that there is no need to be scared," Kumar told PTI.
A resident of Najafgarh, Kumar has been working at the hospital for the last eight years.  

He said his wife was very nervous as well.
"She even asked me not to take the vaccine. I told her it is just an injection. After taking the dose, I asked my mother to tell my wife that I am safe," he said.
"It's been more than two hours and I feel proud and great. I would like to tell everyone that the fear about the vaccine is unwarranted. I have not noticed any reactions so far. There is no pain, or trouble breathing or difficulty in moving my limbs," he said.
Laxmi Rani said she was scared and kept praying for him. "It was to happen. The almighty gave him the chance to get the vaccine and the courage to face the fears," she said.
Shaukat Ali, Kumar's colleague and a sanitation worker at AIIMS, said he was "very scared" before he got the jab in the morning.
"I have undergone three surgeries for kidney stones. So, I was obviously scared, but Manish gave me confidence. I am not worried now, I am happy," the 37-year-old said.
Ali said he offered namaz before he stepped out of his home for the hospital at 5 am in the morning.
"I called my wife and children and told them I am safe, there is nothing to be worried about," he said.
16:24   Mahesh Sharma among 1st MPs to get COVID-19 vaccine
With a Covishield jab on his forearm, BJP leader and Gautam Buddh Nagar MP Mahesh Sharma on Saturday got vaccinated for coronavirus as a 'healthcare worker', becoming among the first parliamentarians in India to get inoculated for the infection.
Sharma, who is also a trained MBBS doctor, got vaccinated at 11 am at his Kailash Hospital in Noida Sector 27, hospital spokesperson V B Joshi told PTI.
The 61-year-old former Union minister was then kept in observation for 30 minutes at the hospital, Joshi said.
"The beginning of the end for COVID-19 has started today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi launching the world's largest vaccination campaign. As a doctor, I have also got vaccinated for coronavirus. I am feeling absolutely fine. The vaccine is completely safe and all of you should get vaccinated," Sharma tweeted in Hindi.
The vaccination drive started in Gautam Buddh Nagar at six centres across Noida and Greater Noida as the mega inoculation drive was launched in the country on Saturday.
The first vaccine at a government facility was administered to a healthcare worker at the Community Health Centre in Bhangel at 11.31 am in the presence of District Magistrate Suhas L Y and Chief Medical Officer Deepak Ohri, officials said.
Today, on the first day of the vaccination, 600 healthcare workers will be administered the vaccine in Gautam Buddh Nagar, Dr Neeraj Tyagi, district immunisation officer, told PTI, adding today's drive will specifically cover healthcare workers.
The six centres where the vaccination drive is underway are Child PGI in Sector 30, Kailash Hospital in Sector 27, CHCs at Bhangel and Bisrakh, Government Institute of Medical Sciences (GIMS) and Sharda Hospital in Greater Noida, the officials said.
Gautam Buddh Nagar has received 28,840 doses of India-made Covishield vaccine for the first round of vaccination, according to officials. -- PTI 
16:17   Court grants bail to 89 accused in Palghar mob lynching case
A special court in Maharashtra's Thane district on Saturday granted bail to 89 accused in the Palghar mob lynching case, in which two sadhus and their driver were killed.
District judge S B Bahalkar in his order granted bail to 89 accused and fixed the next date of hearing in the case to February 15.
Appearing for the accused, advocates Amrut Adhikari and Atul Patil submitted in the court that the applicants had no role to play in the attack and the police had arrested them on mere suspicion.
The accused also questioned the validity of three FIRs registered for the same incident.
A total of 201 persons have been arrested in the case, of which 75 main accused are in jail.
Special public prosecutor Satish Maneshinde appeared for the prosecution, while advocate P N Ojha appeared for the family of the sadhus.
On April 16, 2020, a mob lynched two sadhus  Chikne Maharaj Kalpavrukshagiri (70) and Sushilgiri Maharaj (35) - and their driver Nilesh Telgade (30) at Gadchinchale in Palghar district, 140 km north of Mumbai.
The brutal attack took place amid rumours that child-lifters were roaming in the area during the lockdown. -- PTI  
16:14   Bhutan PM wishes Modi for launching world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive
Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on Saturday congratulated his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi for the landmark launch of the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination drive, hoping it would mitigate the sufferings endured by the people due to the pandemic.
Modi on Saturday launched the world's largest vaccination drive with healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle getting their first jabs, showing the light at the end of a 10-month tunnel that upended millions of lives and livelihoods.
Shots of Covishield and Covaxin vaccines were being administered at medical centres across the country.
"I would like to congratulate PM @narendramodi and the people of India for the landmark launch of nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive today. We hope it comes as an answer to pacify all the sufferings we have endured this pandemic," Tshering tweeted.
In a similar post on his Facebook account, Tshering said that, "in this pursuit of securing and distributing the vaccine of an impressive magnitude, Your Excellency has displayed profound and compassionate leadership."
"We send prayers for the good health and well being of Your Excellency and the people of India," Tshering added.
In his reply, Modi thanked Tshering for the good wishes.
"Thank you @PMBhutan! A vaccine, which was earlier believed to be impossible in such a short time period has become a reality thanks to efforts of our scientists, doctors and innovators," he tweeted.
India is ready to do everything possible for a healthy planet, Modi said. -- PTI
15:49   Covaxin maker to pay compensation, if...
Bharat Biotech, which has received a government purchase order for supply of 55 lakh doses of Covaxin, a COVID-19 vaccine, said the company will pay compensation to recipients in case of any serious adverse effects experienced after receiving the antidote.
In the consent form to be signed by the vaccine recipients, Bharat Biotech said, "In case of any adverse events or serious adverse events, you will be provided medically recognised standard of care in the government
designated and authorised centres/hospitals."
"The compensation for serious adverse event will be paid by sponsor (BBIL) in case if the SAE is proven to be causally related to the vaccine," the consent form said.      

In phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials, Covaxin has demonstrated the ability to produce antidotes against COVID-19.
However the clinical efficacy of the vaccine is yet to be established and it is still being studied in phase 3 clinical trials, the vaccine maker said.
"Hence it is important to appreciate that receiving the vaccine does not mean that other precautions related to COVID-19 need not be followed," the consent form said.
According to an industry expert, the company is liable to pay compensation to people in case of serious side effects as the vaccine is being administered while in the clinical trial mode.
The central licensing authority has granted permission for the sale or distribution of Covaxin for restricted use in emergency situations in public interest as an abundant caution, in clinical trial mode.
Meanwhile, Joint Managing Director of Bharat Biotech International Ltd, Suchitra Ella in her twitter account said, "Covaxin & Bharat Biotech is truly humbled & honoured to be of service to the nation & the fraternity of all first responders of covid who have served public health."
15:44   Covaxin approval sans due process: Cong's Manish Tewari
In the backdrop of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the country, senior Congress leader Manish Tewari on Saturday raised questions over the emergency use approval given to the indigenously developed vaccine Covaxin and alleged that it was "sans due process".
India recently granted two vaccines -- Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin -- approval on restricted emergency use.
"As vaccine roll out begins, it is all a bit puzzling India has no policy framework for authorising emergency use. Yet, two vaccines have been approved for restricted use in emergency situation," Tewari said in a tweet just before Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the vaccination drive.
"COVAXIN is another story -- Approvals sans Due Process," the former Union minister added, tagging a media report which claimed scientists and doctors are divided on the issue of restricted use approval granted to the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Earlier, senior Congress leader Anand Sharma, Jairam Ramesh and Shashi Tharoor had also raised concerns over India's drugs regulator's nod to restricted use of Bharat Biotech''s COVID-19 vaccine.
However, there were different voices within the party as its chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala had lauded scientists and researchers of Bharat Biotech for the indigenous vaccine.
The Bharatiya Janata Party, in response, to the criticism by some Congress leaders had hit out at the Congress with party president J P Nadda alleging that whenever India achieves something commendable the opposition party comes up with "wild theories" to "ridicule" the accomplishments. -- PTI 
A Covishield vaccine dose
A Covishield vaccine dose
15:04   Will prefer Covishield over Covaxin: Delhi docs

The Resident Doctors' Association of the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in New Delhi on Saturday requested the medical superintendent to vaccinate them with Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield.
In a letter to the medical superintendent, the association said the resident doctors were "a bit apprehensive" about Covaxin and might not participate in the immunisation drive in large numbers thus defeating the purpose of the exercise which began in the country on Saturday.
"We have come to know that the COVID-19 vaccination drive is being conducted by the hospital today. Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech is being preferred in our hospital over Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute.
"The residents are a bit apprehensive about the lack of complete trial in case of Covaxin and might not participate in huge numbers thus defeating the purpose of vaccination. We request you to vaccinate us with Covishield which has completed all stages of trial before its roll-out," the letter stated.

In the national capital, the vaccination exercise will be carried out at 81 sites across all its 11 districts.
At the RML hospital, a security guard was the first one to receive the shot.
14:42   TRP scam: Ex-CEO of BARC hospitalised
Former CEO of ratings agency BARC, Partho Dasgupta, who was arrestedin the alleged fake Television Ratings Point case, has been admitted in the ICU of state-run JJ hospital in central Mumbai, an official said on Saturday.
Dasgupta, a diabetic, was rushed to the hospital from the Taloja Central Prison in Navi Mumbaiin the early hours of Saturday after his blood sugar levels went up on Friday midnight.
Dasgupta was admitted to the ICU of JJ hospital and is on Oxygen support, he said.
Dasgupta was arrested in the alleged TRP rigging scam by crime branch of the Mumbai Police on December 24 last year.
A Mumbai court had earlier this month rejected the bail plea of Dasgupta, stating that he played a vital role in the scam.
The Mumbai Police had earlier told the court that Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami had allegedly bribed Dasgupta with "lakhs of rupees" to ramp up the news channels viewership. -- PTI 
14:07   Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla receives Covishield shot
Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday recieved the vaccine shot and wished Prime Minister Narendra Modi success in launching the vaccination rollout in the country. 

"I wish India and Sri Narendra Modi ji great success in launching the world's largest COVID vaccination roll-out. It brings me great pride that #COVISHIELD is part of this historic effort and to endorse its safety and efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself," Poonawalla tweeted while posting a video in which he was seen receiving the vaccine shot. 

The drugs regulatory body of India has currently approved two vaccines. 

Pune-based Serum Institute of India has developed the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University while the Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad's Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Medical Council of research and National Institute of Virology.
13:49   Don't believe in rumours, vaccine safe: Kejriwal
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday urged people not to believe in rumours and listen to experts who say COVID-19 vaccines are safe, as the world's largest immunisation programme against the disease began in the country.
Kejriwal inspected the COVID-19 vaccination campaign at the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital in New Delhi, interacted with some health workers who received the shot and lauded their contribution in fighting the pandemic.
The vaccination drive has started at 81 centres in Delhi.
"I have interacted with those vaccinated. No one has any problem. All are happy that they will get rid of coronavirus," the chief minister said.
He said, "I want to say to all not to pay attention to rumours and misinformation. The experts say vaccines are safe and there is no need to worry."
But there is a need to use face masks and maintain social distancing even after receiving the vaccine shots, Kejriwal stressed. -- PTI
13:30   Biden names Kashmiri-origin Sameera Fazili as Deputy Director of National Economic Council
United States President-elect Joe Biden has appointed Indian-American Sameera Fazili to a key White House position related to economy.
Sameera Fazili has been named as Deputy Director, National Economic Council at the White House, the Biden-Harris Transition announced on Friday.
The National Economic Council coordinates the economic policy making process and provide economic policy advice to the US president. 
Fazili is currently the Economic Agency lead on the Biden-Harris Transition. She was earlier posted at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta where she served as the Director of Engagement for Community and Economic Development.
Fazili is the second Kashmiri-origin Indian-American appointed to a key position in the incoming Biden administration.
In December, Aisha Shah was named as Partnerships Manager at the White House Office of Digital Strategy. 
In the Obama-Biden administration, Fazili served as a senior policy advisor on the White House's National Economic Council and as a senior advisor at the US Treasury Department in both Domestic Finance and International Affairs.
Prior to that she was a clinical lecturer of law at Yale Law School. Originally from Buffalo, she now lives in Georgia with her husband and three children. Fazili is a graduate of Yale Law School and Harvard College.
Before her time in government, Fazili was a clinical lecturer at Yale Law School's community and economic development clinic, where she helped start a CDFI bank and a local anti-foreclosure initiative, and expanded the clinic's work to international microfinance.
She also worked at ShoreBank, the nation's first CDFI (community development financial institution) bank. Her work in finance has spanned consumer, housing, small business and microfinance. 
She received her law degree from Yale Law School and her bachelor of arts in social studies from Harvard College. -- PTI 
12:55   Covid vaccines are 'Sanjivani': Vardhan
COVID-19 vaccines are 'Sanjivani' in our fight against coronavirus infection, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan said after the COVID-19 vaccination drives kicked off in the country. 

"This is probably the biggest immunisation campaign against COVID-19 anywhere in the world. India has tremendous experience in handling such issues. We have already eradicated polio and smallpox," Vardhan said.

"Have won battle against polio, small pox. Now we have reached a decisive phase in war against COVID-19, he added.
12:10   Krunal, Hardik Pandya's father passes away
India all-rounder Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal's father Himanshu has died.
Krunal, who was leading Baroda in the Syed Mushtaq Ali trophy, has left the bio-bubble created for the tournament to be with his family, association secretary Ajit Lele told PTI.
Hardik is not playing the national T20 tournament as he is preparing for the white-ball series against England.
Himanshu had played a key role in the success of his cricketer sons.
Krunal scored a match-winning 76 in the opening game against Uttarakhand and has also taken four wickets in the first three games. 

India skipper Virat Kohli condoled the demise of Himanshu Pandya.

"Heartbroken to hear about the demise of Hardik and Krunal's dad. Spoke to him a couple of times, looked a joyful and full of life person. May his soul rest in peace. Stay strong you two. @hardikpandya7@krunalpandya24," Kohli tweeted.

Yusuf Pathan and Irfan Pathan also took to Twitter to condole the demise. 

"A loved one passing away is never an easy moment for anyone. I sincerely admire the sacrifices uncle made for his sons @krunalpandya24 @hardikpandya7. Condolences to his family and dear ones at this tough time," Yusuf tweeted. 

"Remember meeting uncle for the first time at motibagh. He was so keen for his sons to play good cricket. My condolences to You and your family. May God give you the strength to pass through this difficult time," Irfan Pathan tweeted.
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan shows a dose of COVAXIN
Health Minister Harsh Vardhan shows a dose of COVAXIN
12:00   1st phase of Covid vaccination begins in India
The COVID-19 vaccination drive began across country after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's biggest drive via via video conferencing.

Addressing the nation ahead of the launch, Modi reminded people that two doses of vaccine are very important and asked them to maintain wearing masks and social distancing even after receiving the jabs. 
"'Dawai bhi, kadai bhi," he said. 

Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers were vaccinated at different designated centres across the country. 

Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, was among the first persons to receive COVID-19 vaccine jab at AIIMS, Delhi in presence of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.

AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria alos received the COVID-19 vaccine jab.

Around 3 lakh healthcare workers will be inoculated at 2,934 sites across the country on the first day of the massive nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive which is set to begin from January 16, official sources said.
11:38   AIIMS director takes COVID-19 jab
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria receives COVID-19 vaccine jab at AIIMS, Delhi.
11:29   Sanitation worker gets 1st COVID-19 vaccine jab
Manish Kumar, a sanitation worker, becomes the first Indian to receive COVID-19 vaccine jab at AIIMS, Delhi in presence of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.
11:26   Don't fall for rumours: PM on vaccines
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, launching India's vaccination drive today, said people should not fall for propaganda over vaccines.

"Scientists gave nod to two made-in-India vaccines after being sure of their effects, don't pay heed to rumours, propaganda", the PM said.
10:55   PM Modi tears up while 'remembering past journey'
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while launching the Covid-19 vaccination drive in India, teared up while talking about the struggle-filled journey of lakhs of people who worked to eradicate the deadly disease from the country. "Some of them could not even return home," he says.

Speaking to the nation, he says, "Today when we take a look at the last year, we realise that we have learnt a lot as a person, a family and as a nation."

"This disease kept people away from their families. The mothers cried for their children & had to stay away. People could not meet their elderly admitted at hospitals. We could not bid adieu to those with proper rituals who died due to corona."
10:51   Such a huge vaccine drive first in history: Modi
PM Modi says, "Such a big vaccination drive hasnt been conducted in history. Look at the figures in the first phase. 3 crore. We have to take it to 30 crore in the second phase. America, China and India are the only 3 countries in the world with a population of over 30cr. Hence the vaccination drive in India is so huge. This shows our strength and capability."

The PM added, "When our scientists and experts were satisfied with the safety of Made in India vaccines, they gave their approval. Citizens should stay away from propaganda, misinformation and rumours," PM Modi said.

The world's biggest inoculation programme against the novel coronavirus infection begins on Saturday as India starts vaccinating its high-risk healthcare workers. The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups.
10:43   Important to take 2 doses of vaccine, don't forget it: PM Modi
"Its important to take doses. Dont make the mistake of taking one dose and then forgetting about dose two. Listen to the experts about the gap to be kept. Two weeks after the second dose, will you build immunity against coronavirus. I appeal to you not to forget coronavirus appropriate behaviour after getting the dose. The patience with which you fought coronavirus, show the same patience during vaccination now," says PM Modi while launching the Covid vaccination drive. 

10:38   Vaccine is finally here, says PM Modi
PM Narendra Modi has launched India's coronavirus vaccination drive via video conference. Addressing the nation, PM Narendra Modi said, "Everyone was waiting for this day with bated breath. Everyone kept asking when will the vaccine come. Its here and in a short span of time. In some minutes from now, the worlds biggest vaccination drive is to begin."

India is set to roll out the world's biggest vaccination programme today with over 3 lakh healthcare workers to be inoculated on the first day of the much-anticipated drive, which the government said is "probably the beginning of the end of COVID-19". 

A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and union territories will be virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 am by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site. 
10:33   PM Modi launches Covid vaccination drive
Prime Minister Modi launches vaccination drive against coronavirus.

The world's biggest inoculation programme against the novel coronavirus infection begins on Saturday as India starts vaccinating its high-risk healthcare workers.

The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups.

The first phase of India's coronavirus vaccination drive will start at 11 am across several cities in India. 

A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs will be virtually connected during the launch and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site on the first day. 
10:27   Look who's arrived!
Health Minister Dr Harshvardhan arrives at AIIMS, heads to vaccination site. 

Photograph: ANI/Twitter
10:04   Doctor, sanitation worker 1st to be vaccinated
A trio of a doctor, a nurse and a sanitation worker will receive coronavirus vaccine shots in the presence of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal at the state-run LNJP Hospital on Saturday. 

CM Arvind Kejriwal is slated to visit LNJP Hospital to inspect the vaccination drive as Delhi gets ready for the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccination exercise.

"Hon'ble CM Shri @ArvindKejriwal will visit the LNJP Hospital on Saturday, January 16 at 12 noon, to inspect the COVID vaccination drive of the Delhi government," the Delhi Chief Minister's Office (CMO) tweeted.
09:57   India reports 15,158 new COVID-19 cases and 175 deaths in 24 hours
India reports 15,158 new COVID-19 cases, 16,977 discharges and 175 deaths in last 24 hours, as per official figures released by the health ministry.

Total cases: 1,05,42,841
Active cases: 2,11,033 
Total discharges: 1,01,79715 
Death toll: 1,52,093
09:45   Prep for Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai
With aarti thalis and sweets, the staff of Cooper hospital in Mumbai wait to welcome the beneficiaries of the Covid-19 vaccine. 

Photograph: ANI/Twitter
09:33   World COVID-19 deaths surpass 2 million
A grim milestone has been reached globally as the COVID-19 deaths have breached the 2 million deaths mark while the cases are nearing 94 million.

As of Saturday, 7.52 am IST, the COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University reported that the global coronavirus caseload stands at 93,787,372 while the fatalities across the world stand at 2,006,987. 

The United States continues to be the worst-affected country by the pandemic reporting over 23,520,563 cases and 391,922 deaths -- the most anywhere in the world.

India and Brazil continue to be the second and third most affected country respectively reporting over 10.5 million cases and 8.393 million cases respectively. Brazil has the second-highest death toll in the world from COVID-19 reporting as many as 208,246.

Meanwhile, Russia may vaccinate 60 per cent of the population against the coronavirus in the first year, this is a very serious achievement, the head of Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said as reported by Sputnik.

-- ANI
09:11   Rest for half hour: Govt's guideline for vaccine
Health care workers who will be vaccinated today as India begins its emergency vaccination drive from today onwards, the health ministry has asked the beneficiaries to rest at least for half an hour after getting vaccinated. 

All vaccine sites have three marked areas for waiting, vaccination and observation. 

After one gets the jab, it has been advised to not leave the site immediately as the effects of the shot, if any, will be monitored at the vaccine site itself. In all these areas, Covid-19-appropriate behaviour, including the wearing of masks and social distancing, is to be followed.

Though India has been carrying out large-scale vaccination drives for decades, since this is going to be the world's largest vaccination against the deadly Covid-19, precautionary measures are being taken.

The Centre has already specified age, medical, physical conditions which are not suitable for vaccination.

Vaccinators and officials have also been trained on how to respond if there is any AEFI (adverse event following immunisation).
08:37   Punjab CM seeks free COVID-19 vaccine for poor
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking free COVID-19 vaccination for the poor in the state. 

The chief minister acknowledged the receipt of 2,04,500 doses of Covishield vaccine and also thanked the prime minister for making this vaccine available on priority to healthcare workers. 

In a statement, Singh requested Modi to consider providing free vaccine to the poor with a view to lessen the disease burden and also ensuring a check on the further spread of transmission, thereby allowing more economic activity. 

Referring to some reports that apart from HCWs and frontline workers, the remaining population may not be provided free vaccine, he pointed out in his letter, "The people of the state have gone through a very difficult times due to COVID-19 wherein economic activities have nosedived and the economy has still not recovered from this shock". 

"It would be difficult for the poorer sections of the society to pay for the vaccination," he said. 

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unparalleled disaster and heavy expenditure had to be incurred in the state's COVID-19 response. 

08:14   Union ex-minister Kamal Morarka dies at 74
Former Union minister and businessman Kamal Mahavirprasad Morarka died in Mumbai on Friday evening following a heart attack.

He was 74.

He was fine till around 5 pm today, but passed away shortly afterwards owing to a heart attack, said Rajendra Sharma, one of Morarkas aides.

Rajkumar Sharma, MLA from Nawalgarh in Rajasthan, tweeted, Shocked at the demise of former Union Minister and famous industrialist of Nawalgarh, Shri Kamal Morarka ji. This is irreparable damage to all of us.

Morarka was incumbent president of Samajwadi Janata Party (Chandra Shekhar). He was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1988. In November 1990, he was appointed a Minister of State in the Prime Ministers office during the tenure of Chandra Shekhar his mentor as PM. His uncle R R Morarka was also an MP in the third Lok Sabha (1962) from Jhunjhunu.

Morarka also served as Vice President of Rajasthan Cricket Association as well as the Vice President of Board of Control for Cricket in India.
07:47   'We are ready': Health ministry
Ahead of the world's biggest Covid vaccination drive, the Health Ministry said in a tweet "it was ready".

India is set to roll out the world's biggest vaccination programme today with over 3 lakh healthcare workers to be inoculated on the first day of the much-anticipated drive, which the government said is "probably the beginning of the end of COVID-19". 

A total of 3,006 session sites across all states and union territories will be virtually connected during the launch at 10.30 am by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and around 100 beneficiaries will be vaccinated at each session site. 

Modi said the country on Saturday would enter a "decisive phase" in the fight against the pandemic.

The Prime Minister's Office has said this will be the world's largest vaccination programme covering the entire length and breadth of the country and all preparations are in place to initiate it on the principles of "Jan Bhagidari". 
00:27   BJP's Mahesh Sharma among 1st MPs to get vaccinated
Former Union minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP Mahesh Sharma on Friday said he would take the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, becoming one of the first parliamentarians to get jabbed for coronavirus in the country.

Sharma, a trained MBBS doctor and MP from Gautam Buddh Nagar district in Uttar Pradesh, will be getting the vaccine on the very first day of the mega inoculation drive for his role as a 'frontline healthcare worker' during the pandemic.

'We don't have to lag behind in this decisive battle against coronavirus. The government has decided that healthcare workers will be vaccinated first. I, as a doctor, will also get vaccinated tomorrow at 11 am,' the BJP leader tweeted in Hindi.

'This vaccine is completely safe. The government has approved its use only after it cleared tests successfully and met scientific standards. All of you must get vaccinated,' he said in another tweet.

The 61-year-old Sharma will get vaccinated at his private Kailash Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in Gautam Buddh Nagar, which is also among the six selected centres for the vaccination drive the district on Saturday. -- PTI