Telangana Health Minister Etala Rajender today said that he had not taken the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine in the state as he was heeding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to first allow the frontline workers of the nation to receive the vaccine.
Speaking after launching the state-wide vaccination program at Secunderabad's Gandhi Hospital with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, he said, "PM Modi had issued an emotional call to the country to first administer the coronavirus vaccine to the sanitation workers who have been risking their own lives to help contain the ongoing pandemic. So, following his instructions, I did not take the injection first."
"The first beneficiary of the vaccination program in the state was a sanitation worker named S Kistamma. The 42-year-old worker, employed at the Gandhi Hospital, has been working at the hospital for the last 14 years. She has also actively been working for the hospital ever since it became an exclusive Covid-19 treatment hospital some months ago," he added.
Rajender was, in all likelihood, explaining why he did not receive the vaccine today as he had earlier told the people of the state that he would volunteer to receive the first shot
to allay their fears regarding the vaccine's possible side effects.
Though he did not receive the vaccine himself, he once again reiterated that it was "completely safe", and urged the people not to avoid getting immunised.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar also said that he did not avail himself of the vaccine after hearing the PM's appeal.
"I could have easily availed myself of the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. However, it crucial that the frontline Covid-19 warriors receive the vaccine first. They are the most vulnerable to the disease, and must be protected," he said.
Meanwhile, other prominent officials and leaders of the state also attended the launch of the program at other vaccination centres.
Governor Tamilisai Soundarararjan and her husband, noted nephrologist Dr P Soundarararjan, attended the launch of the program at the NIMS, and IT and Industries Minister K T Rama Rao attended the immunisation program at the Tilak Nagar PHC, where a dry run for the drive
was carried out some days ago.
The program at Mahbubnagar was flagged off by Excise Minister V Srinivas Goud, while BC Welfare Minister Gangula Kamalakar attended the vaccination program in Karimnagar, and Panchayat Raj Minister E Dayakar Rao attended the same in Warangal.