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‘Anti-National’ Tag For Those Questioning Govt Over Covaxin Nod

Those criticising the Modi govt on Covaxin approval were called “anti-nationals” on social media.

Published
COVID-19
2 min read
Those criticising the Modi govt on Covaxin approval were called “anti-nationals” on social media.
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Those critiquing the Narendra Modi government on the inadequate information provided on COVID vaccine approval were met with the tag of ‘anti-national’ on social media.

Criticising the Opposition’s questions on Drugs Controller General of India’s (DCGI) approval for emergency use of Bharat Biotech-manufactured ‘Covaxin’ without proper completion of trials, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Sunday, 3 January said, “ Anti-national comments & cynicism of the Opposition notwithstanding, @WHO has welcomed the Indian approval of both #COVISHIELD & #COVAXIN!”

With political leaders like Akhilesh Yadav calling Covaxin as “BJP’s vaccine” and Vardhan tagging questions about approvals as “anti-national”, a debate over nationalism ensued on Twitter.

Bharat Biotech is India’s first indigenous vaccine for coronavirus. The inactivated virus vaccine is developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV).

This comes a day after Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav has said that he will not get vaccinated for COVID-19 now as the "BJP's vaccine" could not be trusted.

While some credited PM Narendra Modi for getting a vaccine against the pandemic so quickly in India, medical experts raised doubts on the trial process of the India-made vaccine.

Others questioned political motives behind criticising the trial process of the vaccine.

Former Congress leader Sanjay Jha defended the Modi government and wrote, “Mr Modi’s government is not crazy to endanger lives of its own people through rash experimentation.”

Some felt politics or opposition to using COVID-vaccine could delay the process of India becoming coronavirus-free.

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Defending the criticism, some people wrote on Twitter that it was important to ask for accountability when it comes to something as crucial as a cure for a pandemic.

The Subject Expert Committee of Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation had recommended restricted use of Covaxin "in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, specially in the context of infection by mutant strains". Officals say that it will be used as backup in case of spike in cases.

Covaxin has to be administered in two doses and can be stored at 2-8 degree Celsius. This is a major relief for India which has the second highest number of infections in the world after the US.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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