No matter how strong the shield, can’t lay weapons till Covid war is on, PM urges caution during festivities

Asks people to buy local, says 100 cr vaccine mark not just a statistic but a symbol of new India which can set and achieve great goals

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 22

Describing the 100 crore plus Covid vaccine mark as a symbol of India’s collective strength, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday urged caution in the coming festive season, even as he asked people to buy made-in-India products riding high on what he described as “allround optimism yielded by the 100 crore plus Covid doses”.

Also read: PM Modi misleading country on vaccinations: Congress

“No matter how strong the protection and the shield, and how strong its guarantee, we can’t lay our weapons till the Covid war is on,” the PM said in his 20-minute address to the nation a day after India became the second country in the world after China to cross the one billion vaccine doses mark.

The PM asked people to celebrate with precautions and make masks a habit, while congratulating them for the feat of one billion doses.

“Just like we don’t move out of the house without our shoes we have to make masks a habit. The unvaccinated must use masks on priority,” the PM said.

Devoting most of bis address to the 100 crore vaccine dose landmark and the challenges faced in reaching it, the PM said it was an answer to those who asked if a democratic country like India could vaccinate its people enough and in time to beat the pandemic.

“The 100 crore plus vaccines is not just a statistic. It is a reflection of new India which can set and achieve mighty goals and an India which can work tireless to achieve its targets,” said the PM.

He recalled how questions were raised about Indian preparedness when the pandemic broke out considering “India has always depended on the West for vaccines”.

“When once-in-a-century pandemic came, questions were raised about us. Will India be able to fight Covid? How will it arrange money to buy vaccines? Will it even get vaccines? Can india inoculate enough people to stop the pandemic? All kinds of questions were asked. The 100 crore vaccine doses answer all those questions and show that Indian democracy is all about ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas,” the PM said.

He hailed the Indian vaccine programme as science-born, science-driven and science-based, adding, “VIP culture was not allowed to overwhelm the vaccine programme. No matter how rich anyone is they got the vaccine like anyone else.”

Terming the achievement of the one billion vaccine goal as difficult and unprecedented, the PM said today there is “optimism across segments due to this feat and the world will see India as a safer place after this record vaccination”.

He noted that there was new energy all over, the economy was looking up and the world was bullish on India and asked people to make ‘vocal for local’ a campaign, saying, “This Diwali, I urge you all to buy ‘made in India’. There was a time when made in other countries was a craze but today ‘made in India’ should become the practice.”

Citing a Vedic reference, the PM said Indians discharged their duties during the pandemic and reaped outcomes.

“When collective efforts are made, outcomes are unprecedented. We made collective participation our strength and our first line of defence. We clapped and clanged thalis. We lit diyas to harness our collective strength. Some people asked if this would defeat the disease but we saw in it our unity and power as a nation,” the PM said in apparent jibes at the Opposition.

He said that Indians beat vaccine hesitancy to achieve this milestone at a time when many other nations were struggling with hesitancy.

“We used innovative methods to accomplish the phenomenal task of reaching vaccines to remote areas,” said the PM, asking people to be cautious as upcoming festivities give more energy to “allround positive activities”.

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