More than 6 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been sent to 76 nations, while 4.5 crore doses have been administered to beneficiaries in the country till now, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday.
He also called for making the vaccination drive a 'Jan Aandolan' (mass movement).
"Until this morning, nearly 4.5 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been given to the people in this country. More than six crore doses have been sent to 76 nations," Vardhan said during a media interaction at the Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH) in Chandigarh.
"Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party (BJP) president J P Nadda have called for making the vaccination drive a 'jan andolan' (mass movement)," he said.
In a major boost to entrepreneurship in life sciences, Vardhan, the Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, inaugurated IMTECH Bio-Innovation Centre which is an extension of the Atal Incubation Centre (AIC)-CCMB, Hyderabad.
The aim of the IMTECH Bio-Innovation Centre is to become a hub for life sciences, biotechnology start-ups and MSMEs from all over the country in a short span of time.
Sanjeev Khosla, director, IMTECH apprised the minister about the various activities of the institute and especially the work done by scientists during the COVID-19 pandemic in the last one year.
Science has the potential to solve many of our longstanding issues, they may belong to any sector. When I see the science happening in all the labs of CSIR and other places, I feel convinced that it (science) has the potential.
"That is why, we have been telling our scientists that we have to have a very people-centric approach and whatever we do in the labs, it should have a connect with the people for the future," Vardhan said.
The minister also urged the scientific community to use their experience around coronavirus to be ready for any unforeseen thing like (the disease) which the future may throw up.
"I have told the scientific community that they developed a lot of experience during COVID pandemic. They rose to the occasion and helped us in a big way.
"They should be ready for any unforeseen thing like this (coronavirus) which the future may throw up," he said.
Vardhan said the Bio Innovation Centre will help the start-ups as well as MSMEs.
"The Narendra Modi government stands rock solid behind anyone who has got a bright idea and wants to convert that idea into an entrepreneurship, discover or develop something new, which can help solve some of the long-standing unresolved problems of the countrymen and maybe alleviate their sufferings and make their lives better. That is what the idea of this 'Start-up and Stand up' movement is," he said.
He said a special fund worth almost over Rs 900 crore was established to help the industry expedite research for COVID-19 vaccine.
Vardhan also inaugurated Centre of Excellence for Intelligent Sensors and System at the Central Scientific Instruments Organisation in Chandigarh, as well as a vaccination help desk at Dadu Majra colony in Chandigarh, an event organised by the city unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party.