Centre asks states to act against those spreading rumours about Covid vaccines
Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that states must check the spread rumours, and direct all the concerned authorities to take appropriate measures to counter false information about Covid-19 vaccines.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written to states asking them to take penal action against those who are found to be involved in spreading wrong and ill-informed news about the Covid-19 vaccines
In a letter to chief secretaries of all states on January 19, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that states “must check the spread of such ill-informed rumours, and direct all the concerned authorities under the State Government to take appropriate measures to counter false information about Covid-19 vaccines.”
The letter comes in the backdrop of a degree of hesitancy among health workers during the initial phase of vaccination. The letter emphasises the safety of both vaccines ‘‘The National Regulatory Authority in the country has found that the two vaccines, Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and Covaxin, developed and manufactured by the Bharat Biotech Limited were safe and immunogenic,” it said.
“It has been reported that unfounded and misleading rumours are circulating on social and other media, creating doubt about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. Such kind of rumour mongering, particularly by vested interests, can create unwarranted doubts among people at large, and there is, therefore, a need to check all such kinds of unfounded scare mongering relating to the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccines,” wrote Bhalla.
Bhalla asked the chief secretaries to direct all the authorities to disseminate factual messages, adding that “penal action may be taken against the person/s or organisation/s who is/are found to have indulged in such activities, under the relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860.”