The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday hit out at the Congress for raising questions about the efficacy of Bharat Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine Covaxin, which was granted emergency-use authorisation earlier in the day along with Serum Institute of India’s Covishield.
Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri directed his criticism at Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh and Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav. Tharoor and Ramesh had asked why Covaxin had been cleared before phase-3 trials. Yadav, on the other hand, had said that he would not get inoculated as the BJP’s vaccine could not be trusted.
“Our in-house cynics M/s Jairam, Tharoor and Akhilesh are behaving true to form,” Puri said in a tweet. “They first questioned the valour of our soldiers and are now unhappy that the two vaccines to get DCGI nod are made in India. Clearly they are on a quest for permanent political marginalization.”
BJP National President JP Nadda accused the Congress of trying to belittle India’s accomplishments. “Time and again we have seen whenever India achieves something commendable – that will further public good – the Congress comes up with wild theories to oppose and ridicule the accomplishments,” he tweeted The more they oppose, the more they are exposed. Latest example is the Covid vaccines.”
He added: “To further their own failed politics and nefarious agendas, Congress and other Opposition leaders are trying to cause panic in the minds of the people.” Nadda also said that the Opposition should indulge in politics on other matters and stop “playing” with the lives of the people.
The BJP president said that the Congress and other Opposition parties were not proud of anything Indian. “They should introspect about how their lies on the COVID-19 vaccine will be used by vested interest groups for their own agendas,” he added. “People of India have been rejecting such politics and will keep doing so in the future.”
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said politicising the vaccine clearance was “disgraceful”. “Sh @ShashiTharoor, @yadavakhilesh and Sh @Jairam_Ramesh don’t try to discredit well laid out science-backed protocols followed for approving Covid-19 vaccines. “Wake up and realise you are only discrediting yourselves!”
The Drugs Controller General of India had made the announcement of the emergency approval of the vaccines at a press briefing on Sunday morning. DCGI chief VG Somani said that the two vaccines were 110% safe. The announcement was welcomed by vaccine developers and the World Health Organization.
The Serum Institute is the local maker of Covishield, the vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca. Bharat Biotech has manufactured India’s first indigenous vaccine candidate Covaxin in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology.
India has so far reported 1,03,23,965 coronavirus cases and 1,49,435 deaths. As of Sunday morning, India’s active cases stood at 2,47,220, while the recoveries reached 99,27,310.