More than one crore cases and 1.5 lakh fatalities later, India on Saturday took its first steps out of the pandemic with shots of the Covishield and Covaxin vaccines being administered at medical centres across the country to a collective sigh of relief that this could finally be the beginning of the end of the COVID-19 trauma.
Healthcare workers at the frontline of India's COVID-19 battle got their first jabs after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the world's biggest drive via video conferencing.
Addressing the nation ahead of the launch, Modi reminded people that two doses of vaccine are very important and asked them to maintain wearing masks and social distancing even after receiving the jabs.
"Dawai bhi, kadai bhi," he said.
Doctors, nurses and healthcare workers were vaccinated at different designated centres across the country.
A medic administers the first dose of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker in the presence of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, after the virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at AIIMS in New Delhi. Photograph: Vijay Verma/PTI Photo
Doctors and health workers show victory signs as they pose for a photograph at RML Hospital in New Delhi. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo
A medic administers the first shot of Covishield vaccine to a frontline worker at Government JP hospital in Bhopal. Photograph: PTI Photo
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria receives COVID-19 vaccine jab at AIIMS, Delhi. Photograph: ANI
Doctors and health workers take a selfie, after the virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive, at Rajawadi hospital in Mumbai. Photograph: Shashank Parade/PTI Photo
A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a frontline worker after the virtual launch of COVID-19 vaccination drive by PM Modi, at Max Hospital in New Delhi. Photograph: Kamal Kishore/PTI Photo
A medic shows a Covishield vaccine dose at Venutai Chavan Government Hospital in Karad. Photograph: PTI Phot
A medic shows a Covishield vaccine dose at District Hospital in Howrah. Photograph: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI Photo
Health workers stand in a queue outside Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital to get COVID-19 vaccination in New Delhi. Photograph: Manvender Vashis/PTI Photo