Amit Shah, the Union Home Minister, who is leading India’s COVID-19 response, slammed the people who are linking politics to the Coronavirus vaccination drive. “There are some people who are spreading misinformation on the vaccines. Come to another platform and let’s have a duel. But why are you creating doubt over people’s health and doing politics?” said the Union Home Minister in a function organised to extend the benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme to Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel.
Amit Shah also encouraged the people to take vaccine shots. “I appeal to all of you to go for the vaccine when your turn comes. Do not have any doubt over its efficacy. We’ve already launched the world’s biggest vaccination drive,” he said at the event.
The vaccines manufactured in India – Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and Covidshield developed by AstraZeneca in collaboration with Oxford University – have received positive reviews from experts from around the world and their effect, so far, has been more encouraging than any other vaccine around the world.
Covaxin has even been applauded by The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and best-known medical journals, which said that the vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech has led to enhanced immune response.
However, a few politicians like Shashi Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh, Akhilesh Yadav and a few media houses have been casting doubts over the efficacy of the vaccine and spreading lies about it. The misinformation campaign by a section of media and the politicians has led to scepticism among people.
Traditionally, India has always embraced the vaccines and the country even runs the world’s largest vaccination program for children. Unlike the western or middle eastern countries where a few religious sections of the community oppose vaccination, India never faced such opposition.
But, the doubts cast by few politicians and a section of the media has led to scepticism among a few people. How can an Indian vaccine be cleared for usage domestically without the ‘gora’ stamping authority over it? How has India approved two COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously, even as Western countries, presumably far more ‘developed’ than us, continue to struggle with the pandemic? Why was an Indian vaccine by Bharat Biotech authorised for restricted emergency use without it completing stage III human trials involving 24,000 volunteers?
Such questions have been asked by a section of Indians who are light years away from basic scientific knowledge and literacy. The same people, who seem to have no scientific acumen, leave alone any biochemical knowledge, are the same specimens who have not been able to overcome the hangover of colonialism.
In such a scenario, Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, have been forced to clear the doubts of the people and convince them to go for vaccination. India has one of the most developed vaccination infrastructure and production capacity- far better than most of the so-called developed countries.
Bharat Biotech, the company that has developed the indigenous vaccine, is one of the most innovative and among the most successful companies in the world in the field of vaccination. Spanning for more than two decades, the company has come up with vaccines against the most pressing viral diseases like Chikungunya and the Zika virus. The company also produces vaccines for the Japanese Encephalitis. Therefore, everyone in India should embrace the trusted vaccine and the politicians and Luddites like Akhilesh Yadav should refrain from misleading the people against it.