Karnataka Minister BC Patil took his coronavirus vaccine shot on Tuesday, joining a growing list of high-profile political figures – including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah – in receiving the first of their two doses as part of the second phase of the national drive.
However, unlike PM Modi, Mr Shah and other senior leaders, such as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Mr Patil got his shot at his home in Haveri district.
Mr Patil said the decision to get his shot at home – rather than in public to allay fears that the vaccines may be unsafe, and counter other reasons for hesitancy – would, actually, help people.
“If I go to the hospital to get vaccinated, people will have to wait due to my visit. But here I can attend to people and also can get vaccinated. What is wrong in this?” he was quoted by news agency ANI.
“Have I done theft or robbery? I have only taken the vaccine at home which is not a crime,” he added.
Both Mr Patil, 64, and his wife were vaccinated at home.
The centre, which has issued strict guidelines for the vaccination process, has responded.
‘This is not allowed in the protocol. We have asked for a report from the state government,” Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan was quoted by ANI.
Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar was also unimpressed, and was quoted by news agency PTI as sayin: “Unless there is prior permission, no one is allowed to be vaccinated at home”, adding that a notice to this effect would be circulated.
The Chief Minister, however, was in a more forgiving mood; according to PTI, when asked for his reaction, BS Yediyurappa told reporters getting vaccinated was more important than the location.
India began the second phase of the vaccination drive at 9 am Monday, shifting to the inoculation of around 27 crore people over 60 (and over 45 but with co-morbidities).
Registration can be done either via the CoWIN web portal or the Aarogya Setu app, with people given a choice of facility (government or private) from which to get the jab.
Vaccines will be administered at 10,000 government centres (where they will be free of cost) and 20,000 private ones (where prices will be capped at Rs 250 per dose).
On Monday PM Modi became the first to be vaccinated in the second phase.
Seizing the moment to do some messaging of his own, he was given Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, which the centre has been criticised for allowing despite lack of late-stage trial data.
“Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” he tweeted, sharing an image of himself taking the first dose.
Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.
Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19.
I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free! pic.twitter.com/5z5cvAoMrv
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 1, 2021
As of Tuesday morning India has reported over 1.68 lakh active Covid cases and over 1.57 lakh deaths. The total cases detected since the pandemic began in December 2019 is over 1.11 crore.
There were 12,286 new cases and 12,464 recoveries over 24 hours, the centre said Tuesday morning.
With input from ANI, PTI