The opposition in India might not be the sharpest tool in the shed but it sure does know how to create divisiveness and falseness amongst the public. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent rollout of the vaccine saw the same opposition casting aspersions over the efficacy of the vaccines, especially the indigenously developed Covaxin, with some going as far as terming it as a BJP vaccine. However, when the centre is in the midst of the fourth phase of the rollout, several such leaders in the opposition have quietly taken the jabs, without making any public announcement while their legion of followers still foul mouth the current regime and the vaccine.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, party leaders say, got the vaccine earlier this month and had been telling leaders who spoke to her to get themselves inoculated. Meanwhile, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad were among the first to get the vaccine. Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Cabinet Minister Rajiv Shukla are a few of the others who have taken the jabs while their parties continue to question the efficiency of the made-in-India vaccine.
It was Congress leaders like Anand Sharma, Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh that had raised serious hell when the government had granted emergency use of the two vaccines in India. Showing a colonial mindset, the dud Congress leaders started attacking the Indian company, Bharat Biotech, as its phase-3 results were not announced.
The government, at the time of rollout, had specifically announced that the phase-3 trial results will be coming out by the end of February or early March and that Covaxin was for emergency purposes only. But the Congress leaders wanted to encash on the opportunity to create an environment of paranoia and they did succeed somewhat in doing that.
And when the phase-3 results did come out and the vaccine showed 81 per cent efficacy in late-stage clinical trials – all the Congress leaders were nowhere to be found. And when the party high-command took the vaccine, not a word was uttered by the same leaders, further depicting their hypocrisy. The likes of Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh were not concerned with the health of the public, no. All they wanted was to besmirch the name of the government by making a false accusation and innocently planting the idea in public that the vaccine was another PR stunt by the NDA government.
Similar was the case with Akhilesh Yadav, the Samajwadi Party chief and former CM of Uttar Pradesh, who called it “BJP’s vaccine”. He also denied the existence of the pandemic and said, ‘Where is the pandemic?”, he told reporters in Lucknow, adding, “I am sitting before you (reporters) without wearing a mask. BJP is only trying to create fear in the minds of the people. It does not want the Opposition parties to hold any programs.”
Akhilesh Yadav was not the only one talking like a Luddite on the approval of the vaccine; some other leaders of the SP had gone a step further to claim that the vaccine will make people impotent.
Read more: A huge anti-Vaccine campaign has started in India. Samajwadi Party says it will make you impotent
It wasn’t the opposition leaders only that tried to disparage the vaccine. As reported by TFI, it was NDTV and its Harvard alumni journalists were also leading the charge of creating an environment of psychosis when it dedicated a full section on its airtime to highlight the one or two odd cases that prop up whenever someone took a vaccine. And even in one of the cases where the reporter talked to a patient, he accepted he had forgotten to take his blood pressure medicine in the morning, before taking the vaccine.
As reported by TFI previously, the news of a man dying, who was a part of the phase III trials of Bharat Biotech vaccine was also blown out of proportion when the autopsy report confirmed that he died of cardiorespiratory issues, not the COVID-19 vaccine if he was even given one.
Read more: Died after the poisoning, not due to the vaccine shot: Man’s death being used by propagandists to discredit Indian vaccine
While the opposition and media tried their best to create an anti-vaccine environment, the government kept its head down and steadily rolled out the jabs. While the initial naysayers and their accusations have been put to rest, now is the time for the Modi government to go in a hyper-warp drive mode and start inoculating the remaining age groups on a much larger scale.