The hatred harboured by some individuals for PM Modi is so intense and irrational that it has often led them to take leave of their good senses. Ever since PM Modi came to power, a section of chronically cynical people has persistently cast doubts about the decisions made by the Prime Minister. One such individual is AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi, who had today raised aspersions on the efficacy of the Serum Institute of India’s COVISHIELD vaccine, one of two vaccines approved by the Indian government for emergency use.
“As per Germany govt, COVISHIELD isn’t as effective for people aged 64 & above as it’s for people aged b/w 18-64. Can Govt clarify the confusion? It’s a coincidence that PM took Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN vaccine today. However, I urge all to get vaccinated,” the AIMIM chief said.
As per Germany govt, #Covishield isn’t as effective for people aged 64 & above as it’s for people aged b/w 18-64. Can Govt clarify the confusion? It’s a coincidence that PM took Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN vaccine today. However, I urge all to get vaccinated: Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM pic.twitter.com/6k0CajsVh0— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2021
The question over the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India was raised by Asaduddin Owaisi after PM Modi got jabbed with Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN. Owaisi cited the German government to allege that Serum developed COVISHIELD might not be effective for people above the age of 64.
However, Owaisi has not been entirely truthful. After the German government recommended that the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine only be used for people between the age of 18-64, the company CEO responded to the Economic Times‘ email query, stating that “Reports that the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine efficacy is low in adults over 65 years is not an accurate reflection of the totality of the data.”
Earlier today, PM Modi, who is 70-years-old, was administered a dose of Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, an indigenously developed vaccine. In the first phase of India’s ambitious COVID-19 vaccination drive that was started on January 16, only healthcare workers and frontline staffs were administered the vaccines. In the second phase of the immunisation programme, which started today, people over 60 and those between 45 and 59 but have other illnesses are eligible to get the vaccine.
In a bid to instil confidence among people regarding the efficacy of the vaccines, PM Modi was amongst the first in the second phase of the vaccination drive to receive the jab. After receiving the vaccine, PM Modi took to Twitter, urging people to take the vaccine when their turn came.
“Took my first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine at Aiims [hospital]. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against Covid-19. I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India Covid-19 free,” he tweeted.
Detractors raise aspersions over the indigenously made COVID-19 vaccines
Ever since the central government approved the two COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, a host of detractors, motivated by their political agenda against the Centre, have opposed the move and sought to sow apprehensions among people regarding the safety of the vaccines. They have tried to stoke fears among the population by claiming that the vaccines approved by the Indian government have not been adequately tested.
Several opposition politicians and even those who claimed themselves to be experts called the move “premature” and raised questions of the Drug Controller of India for approving Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, claiming that the indigenously developed vaccine was yet to complete the final stage of human clinical trials. Some naysayers had even criticised Serum Institute’s COVISHIELD, stating that the statistics disclosed by the company were dubious.
After PM Modi took the COVAXIN jab, the criticism, which was largely directed towards the Bharat Biotech’s vaccine, has now been deflected to the one developed by the Serum Institute of India. However, while leaders like Owaisi can fuel apprehensions over the COVID-19 vaccine to score political brownie points against PM Modi, such attempts could prove catastrophic, especially when the vaccine hesitancy is rising and India’s ambitious coronavirus vaccination drive is falling victim to a growing mistrust among the beneficiaries.