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Massive Vaccine Drive Starts in India Despite Safety Doubts

  • More than 10.5 million have been infected with Covid in India
  • Effort may face bottlenecks in reaching India’s hinterlands
A nurse administers a shot of the Covishield vaccine in Mumbai, Jan. 16.
A nurse administers a shot of the Covishield vaccine in Mumbai, Jan. 16.Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg
Updated on

Health-workers flashed victory signs after being given coronavirus vaccines, while top officials sought to dispel fears about the shots as India kicked off one of the largest inoculation drives in the world on Saturday, setting in motion a complex plan to stem still rising infections across the nation of more than 1.3 billion people.

At hospitals and vaccination centers in major Indian cities -- from Mumbai to New Delhi -- a total of 224,301 people received vaccines over the weekend, according to data released by the federal health ministry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the program with a speech addressing more than 3,300 centers across India, where the first shots were given.