NDTV and its journalists have had a long, illustrious history of twisting facts and narratives to create an environment of fear and psychosis. Carrying the proud tradition forward on Monday (August 2) was the journalist and Congress mouthpiece Sreenivasan Jain who deliberately claimed that Bharat Biotech’s indigenously developed Covaxin and its initial batches were not of the right quality. The statement was vague and insinuated that the vaccine supplied so far and inoculated to the populace was of low, substandard quality.
Jain had tweeted, “Breaking: the head of the Govt’s vaccine advisory panel Dr NK Arora tells me initial batches of Covaxin were not of the right quality,”
Have great respect for Sreenivasan Jain, but the tweet on Covaxin he’s put out is misleading. Sure he clarifies in the 3rd tweet that the batches were never sent out. But that’s not good enough. I see other prominent journos amplifying just that first tweet. https://t.co/RsWVODMHwq
— Krishna Rao (@raokrishna) August 2, 2021
However, soon after, the netizens thrashed him for fuelling vaccine hesitancy as he had picked a fragment of the report and churned it according to his agenda. The reality was that Covaxin supplies were disrupted in July as initial batches from Bharat Biotech’s new fermentation plant at Bengaluru faced some stability issues and were rejected for supply. The batches were not utilised. Nowhere was it mentioned that such was the case with every single vial of the vaccine.
According to a TOI report, experts say it is a regular phenomenon when batches of drugs and vaccines fail to qualify stability test. One of the officials associated with the development remarked, “It is a new facility with a large-scale fermentation plant. The trial batches were disrupted during the standardisation process and therefore, the supply of Covaxin was less than expected. It has been sorted out now and supplies have also started. It will be full-scale very soon,”
After being called out by the public and the experts, Jain deleted his tweet and apologised for posting a false message. Jain stated that he should have worded his statements in a better way.
“CLARIFICATION/APOLOGY: As many have rightly pointed out, an initial Tweet I sent out based on Dr NK Arora’s interview did not make it explicitly clear that the initial batches of Covaxin found substandard did not make their way into the vaccination programme.”
CLARIFICATION/APOLOGY: As many have rightly pointed out, an initial Tweet I sent out based on Dr NK Arora’s interview did not make it explicitly clear that the initial batches of Covaxin found substandard did not make their way into the vaccination programme. 1/n
— Sreenivasan Jain (@SreenivasanJain) August 3, 2021
Jain further added, “I did clarify that in subsequent Tweets, but the initial Tweet could have been worded much better. I am deleting the original Tweet. For any confusion caused as a result, apologies,”
However, Jain and NDTV which had set out to spread the rumours had been successful in their endeavour. This particular tweet went viral and earned thousands of retweets and likes. The journalists and influential personalities of the Khan Market gang picked up the tweet and amplified it. Meanwhile, the subsequent clarification did not get that much traction.
While Jain claimed that he misquoted Dr NK Arora’s statements, a cursory look at the conversation between the two, available on NDTV’s Twitter handle is enough to understand that it wasn’t a brain fade from Jain but an elaborate strategy to besmirch the name of Covaxin.
Dr NK Arora in clear words had stated, “We expect anywhere between 10-12 crore doses by Bharat Biotech. Their Bengaluru plant is one of the largest vaccine manufacturing plant globally. But initial couple of batches did not pass the quality.. whatever.. it was not of the right quality. Now third or fourth batch has come up which is much better. In next four or six weeks, the vaccine production will really ramp up from Bharat Biotech,”
.@OnReality_Check | "Initial couple of batches (of #Covaxin produced in Bengaluru plant) were not of the right quality": Dr N K Arora, Head of the government's vaccine advisory panel, on Covaxin falling short of targets#CovidVaccine pic.twitter.com/dpKTXonoAy
— NDTV (@ndtv) August 2, 2021
The left-liberal cabal of the country has an uncanny thirst for foreign vaccines and would prefer that Pfizer vaccine be allowed in the country. Pfizer with its shoddy business dealings and ambiguous contract laws wants to infiltrate India and use the huge population to reap massive profits. However, the government has been circumspect so far, reading through the lines and making sure that if allowed, the American company will have to adhere to the law of the land.
Sensing that such an approach is going to delay the process, such bulletins anchored by the like of Jain are routinely disseminated where questions are raised on the credibility of Covaxin.
Jain and his history with controversy
The NDTV journalists have had a history of being at the centre of controversy. As reported by TFI, during an interview with the ace investor and businessman Rakesh Jhunjhunwala last year, Jain has ripped apart when he poked Jhunjhunwala over his support for Prime Minister Modi.
Jhunjhunwala hit out at the NDTV journo for blindly criticising the government, with Jain accusing the businessman of being a “fan of Mr. Modi and the BJP.”
The ace investor was in no mood to let Jain off the hook as he hit back saying, “I am a fan of Mr. Modi – This is a well-known fact. As an Indian, I have a right to my political choices… But, I find you prejudiced. I find NDTV prejudiced against the government.”
Rakesh Jhunjunwala : Everybody knows NDTV is prejudiced against the govt!
Sreenivasan Jain : But won’t you agree that you are prejudiced in favour of the govt?
RJ : I’m an individual, I have a right to be prejudiced! You are a news channel, you’re supposed to be impartial!! pic.twitter.com/bBFG9aFQ8Z
— Harish Puri 🇮🇳 (@harishbpuri) September 18, 2020
During the Republic Day riots earlier this year, Jain gave the vandals an open platform to spew their venom and downplayed the violence ushered by them.
.@OnReality_Check | Isn't it wrong to hoist a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort?
— NDTV (@ndtv) January 26, 2021
NDTV has a big roster of such accomplished and proficient journalists who do not have basic comprehension skills. Jain is the latest to join an illustrious company in Barkha, Ravish, and Sardesai.