Union health minister Harsh Vardhan shows a dose of Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech at AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday as the first phase of vaccination begins across the country. (ANI Photo)
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan shows a dose of Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech at AIIMS in New Delhi on Saturday as the first phase of vaccination begins across the country. (ANI Photo)

'Only passionate about spreading distrust, rumours': Health minister deflects Congress' criticism over vaccines

Manish Tewari had also said that the vaccines were being allowed to be used without the mandatory Phase 3 trials after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive.
Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 03:12 PM IST

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday handled criticism from the Congress party's Manish Tewari, who had questioned why no government functionary had come forward to get the vaccine against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) as India launched the world's biggest inoculation drive, with photographs on his Twitter handle.

"Sh @ManishTewari & @INCIndia are only passionate about spreading distrust & rumours. Open your eyes,sharing photos of eminent Doctors & Govt functionaries getting inoculated," Vardhan tweeted.

Also Watch: PM Modi launches vaccine drive against Covid in India


The health minister also quoted English cleric, writer and collector, Charles Caleb Colton, in his tweet to drive home his point.

The Congress leader had also said that the vaccines were being allowed to be used without the mandatory Phase 3 trials after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive. Tewari has been questioning the reliability and efficacy of the indigenously developed Covaxin, which is in the third phase of trials and has been cleared for restricted emergency use by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).

Also read | 300 million people, 45K fridges: India's Covid-19 vaccination drive in numbers

Before this, Tewari had said on Wednesday that Covaxin's emergency use authorisation and said that Indians "are not guinea pigs".

"If the vaccine is so safe and reliable and efficacy of the vaccine is beyond question then how is it that not a single functionary of the government has stepped forward to get themselves vaccinated as it has happened in other countries around the world?" Tewari asked again on Saturday, according to news agency ANI.

Member of NITI Aayog VK Paul had also said on Tuesday that Covisheild and Covaxin have been tested on thousands of people and side effects are negligible. He said the two "are safest of the vaccines."

Vardhan had earlier in the day that the vaccine will work as a 'sanjeevani' in the fight against the coronavirus disease after Prime Minister Modi launched the nationwide vaccination drive. "I am very happy and satisfied today. We have been fighting against Covid-19 under PM Modi's leadership for the last one year. With help of doctors and scientists, we have an Indian vaccine now, this vaccine will work as a 'sanjeevani' in the fight against Covid-19, which has entered the final stage," he said.

Around 100 people will be vaccinated in each of the 3,006 centres across the country on the first day. Authorities hope to give vaccinate 300 million people, including 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers to be followed by 270 million others, who are either aged over 50 or have illnesses that make them vulnerable to Covid-19.

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