NEW DELHI, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- India's federal health minister Harsh Vardhan said the COVID-19 vaccines used in India's massive inoculation drive were safe and effective.
"COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. To end this pandemic, it's essential for all of us to come together and allay any doubts related to the vaccines," Vardhan said while releasing the communication means prepared by the federal health ministry to address issues related to vaccine hesitancy.
Vardhan said that over 800,000 people have been vaccinated in the Asian country, with very few of them showing side effects of COVID-19 vaccines.
India's drug regulators have approved the Oxford/Astrazeneca developed COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and the indigenously developed Covaxin by Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in India.
While highlighting the need to counter the misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, Vardhan said that vaccines have played a critical role in the past in controlling various diseases like smallpox and polio in India.
"The elimination of polio and smallpox was made possible by large scale immunization," the minister said.
The nationwide inoculation drive against the COVID-19 pandemic began on Jan. 16 in India.
Initially, around 30 million healthcare and frontline workers will be vaccinated in India. Enditem