Emotional moment for me: PM Modi on record vaccination

'Thank You India': Emotional PM Modi thanks Indians for 2.5 crore vaccinations as birthday gift

Modi said that Goa was poised to lead India's revival of tourism

Narendra Modi. Credit: PTI File Photo

An emotional Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday thanked the country for making his 71st birthday a memorable one -- with nearly 2.5 crore vaccinations on Friday -- while taking potshots at the Opposition, which he said appeared to have developed an "adverse reaction" on account of Friday's record vaccination feat.

Modi, during a video interaction with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, health workers and senior citizens from Goa, also said that the coastal state, which has achieved 100 per cent coverage of the first Covid vaccine, would play a big role in the revival of the tourism sector in the country.

"But due to all your efforts, yesterday was a special day for me. Birthdays will come and go, but I will never forget yesterday. I cannot thank enough," the Prime Minister said in his address.

"Many birthdays have come and gone. But I have kept away from these things (birthday celebrations). But in all my years, yesterday was a very emotional day for me... "Because of your efforts, yesterday, India in one day, vaccinated 2.5 crore people, creating a record. Bigger and developed countries in the world have not been able to achieve this feat," Modi said.

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Offering a thorough breakdown of Friday's record breaking vaccination statistics, Modi said that 15 lakh vaccines were administered every hour, 26,000 every minute and 425 vaccine jabs were administered every second at the more than one lakh vaccination centres throughout India.

Modi, during his live interaction with a government medical professional in Goa, also took potshots at the Opposition, which he suggested was not able to stomach the success of Friday's vaccination drive.

“I am not a doctor or a medical expert, but we have heard of adverse side effects. Every few hundred vaccinations that are given one or two persons report vaccine side effects.

"Yesterday we were able to administer 2.5 crore doses, possibly the highest in the world for a single day. But yesterday night after the figure was announced, a political party started showing some adverse reactions? Can you explain this,” Modi said, while interacting with a government nurse from Goa.

Read | 'Vaccinating eligible people in poll-bound UP, Punjab with at least one dose govt's priority'

Lauding Goa for completing 100 per cent coverage of the first Covid vaccine, Modi said that the state was poised to lead India's revival of tourism.

"Goa's 100 per cent vaccination will become important to revive the tourism sector. If hotel industry workers, taxi drivers, hawkers, shopkeepers are vaccinated, it will give peace of mind to the visiting tourists. Goa is a part of a select group of tourist destinations where people are vaccinated," the Prime Minister said.

While encouraging the revival of tourism, the Prime Minister however said that the Covid virus should not be taken lightly. "Domestic and international tourists can take pleasure in coming here... Numbers have come down, but we still cannot take this virus lightly. You will get as many tourists and travellers depending on how much importance you give to safety and hygiene," the he added.

"The central government is taking steps to welcome foreign tourists back. The government has taken a decision to give five lakh tourists free visas. Travel and tourism stakeholders will be given loans up to Rs. 10 lakh with a 100 per cent guarantee by the government. Tourist guides are being given the facility of taking a loan of up to Rs 1 lakh... In the future too, the central government will be ready to help those to take up the tourism sector forward," Modi further said.

The Prime Minister also said that the vaccination drive would not just keep Covid at bay, but would also act as a cover for livelihood.

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