Politics heats up over coronavirus vaccine, BJP leaders slam detractors
While India's wait for a coronavirus vaccine is over with the approval given to Serum Institute Of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN, a number of Opposition leaders have raised questions over the process, only to get slammed by the members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Leading the accusations was Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, who said he wouldn't get the "BJP vaccine."
Won't get the BJP vaccine, declared Yadav
Last week, Yadav triggered a political row by saying he would not get the doses of the "BJP vaccine," while assuring that when his party comes to power, everyone will be inoculated for free. "I will not get the vaccine now. I am telling you about myself. Am I going to trust a vaccine given by the BJP? Oh, get lost," he stressed.
'Government can bang thalis to get rid of coronavirus'
Taking a dig at previous initiatives of the Centre, Yadav claimed, "This government, which was getting rid of coronavirus by banging thalis and clapping, why does it need to arrange freezers and cold chains? They should just bang thalis and clap." Pointing out that people don't wear masks, he added, "COVID-19 is only for the Opposition so that we are unable to do anything."
Agreeing with Yadav, SP member said vaccine can cause problems
After Yadav's statements, Ashutosh Sinha, an SP MLC from Mirzapur, on Saturday said his party doesn't have faith in the machinery of the current federal government. He added that Yadav may have passed the recent remarks only after assessing facts. "If he is not vaccinating himself, then I think COVID-19 vaccine might contain something, which can cause harm," he reportedly said.
'You can even become impotent'
"Tomorrow, people will say the vaccine was given to kill/decrease the population. You can even become impotent, anything can happen. If Akhilesh Yadav is saying this, then I think no one should get vaccinated in the state," Sinha remarked.
Separately, Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh expressed concern over COVAXIN
Besides Yadav, Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh raised doubts about the efficiency of COVAXIN. In several tweets, Tharoor said the approval was granted before phase 3 clinical trial data was reviewed, eventually sending a wrong message. Ramesh tweeted, "Bharat Biotech is a first-rate enterprise, but it is puzzling that internationally-accepted protocols relating to phase 3 trials are being modified for Covaxin. (sic)"
Puri said Opposition leaders behaving in 'true form'
Slamming the Opposition leaders, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted, "Our in-house cynics M/s Jairam, Tharoor & Akhilesh are behaving true to form. (sic)" He said they first questioned the valor of soldiers and are now unhappy that vaccines have been approved. "Clearly they are on a quest for permanent political marginalization," the BJP leader tweeted. He got a response from Tharoor.
Have never questioned valor of soldiers: Tharoor
You are only discrediting yourselves: Health Minister hit back
Meanwhile, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan also joined the chorus against the Opposition leaders. "Sh @ShashiTharoor, Sh @yadavakhilesh & Sh @Jairam_Ramesh don't try to discredit well laid out science-backed protocols followed for approving #COVID19 vaccines. Wake up & realize you are only discrediting yourselves, (sic)" he tweeted yesterday. He stated that COVAXIN is likely to have "similar protective efficacy reported for others."
Will roll my sleeves up: Omar Abdullah
Surprisingly, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah didn't side with the Opposition leaders on this matter. Sharing the tweet of Yadav, he informed he would happily roll his sleeves up when his turn comes. "This damn virus has been far too disruptive & if a vaccine helps bring about a semblance of normalcy after all the chaos then sign me up, (sic)" he tweeted.