Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has said that more than 29 lakh beneficiaries have registered via the online or offline modes on Monday. Out of these, 1,28,630 beneficiaries above 60 years of age and 18,850 aged between 45-59 years with comorbidities took the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as the cumulative number of vaccine doses administered in the country crossed 1.47 crore. The country-wide vaccination drive, which began on January 16 by inoculating healthcare workers, entered its second phase on March 1.
The Union Minister also suggested that this number could be much higher as each individual who registered could add up to four others.
"I had checked the data before speaking with you... till 08:30 pm over 29 lakh people have registered on the platform. And, you see, if one person registers, s/he has the facility of registering for four family members. So, if you take the average of one person registering for two, then it becomes almost 60 lakhs. And, if you think everyone is registering for four of his family, then it crosses one crore," Dr. Harsh Vardhan told NDTV.
The cabinet minister, who is slated to get vaccinated at Delhi's Heart and Lung Institute today, has said that there is no link between the new COVID-19 strains and surge in cases. He further urged people to not become complacent despite nationwide vaccine rollout and people should follow coronavirus protocol for "at least for a few months more".
The focus of mass immunisation "is to ensure that more and more people have antibodies, which you can either from being infected or the vaccine" the minister said. He added that this move will strengthen herd immunity. The aim of the vaccination is to protect people against COVID-19 at an individual level and at the community and society level, he said.