Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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After u-turns on vaccine, Akhilesh Yadav now peddles half-baked data to prove that India is far behind in the vaccination process

In a hurry to target the Union government, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister put out half-baked information and selectively quoted data to paint a dismal picture of the country's vaccination drive.

Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday took to Twitter to give sermons to the Union government regarding its vaccination policy, however, he ended up peddling misinformation regarding the country’s vaccination drive.

Sharing an infographic pertaining to Covid-19 vaccinations across the world, Akhilesh Yadav claimed that the nation needs to begin a national vaccination drive now, which must be robust, comprehensive, and immediate. “There is no greater priority for a nation than to protect its citizens health,” the Samajwadi Party chief claimed.

In a hurry to target the Union government, the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister put out half-baked information and selectively quoted data to paint a dismal picture of the country’s vaccination drive.

According to the infographic shared by Akhilesh Yadav, which cites data published by organizations such as ‘Our World in Data,’ WHO, and others, India is one of the least vaccinated countries in terms of the ‘share of people vaccinated’ as against the total population. As per this data, Israel, with a population of around 90 lakh, has vaccinated around 60 percent of its population, followed by Chile, Bahrain, the US, and the UK.

The data suggests that India has only vaccinated 10 percent of its total population through its national vaccination drive, which according to Akhilesh Yadav, is the lowest. Sharing the above data, Akhilesh Yadav insinuated that the Modi government lagged in the vaccination program.

Here is the data cited by Akhilesh Yadav to put out misleading claims on India’s vaccination drive.

India stands lowest in vaccination drive as per dubious ‘share of total population’ methodology/ Image Source: Our World in Data

However, the claims put out by Akhilesh Yadav is entirely misleading as the data put out by him only depicts half the story.

To buttress his claims that the Modi government was lagging behind the Covid-19 vaccination program, Akhilesh Yadav cites a dubious methodology to assess the total number of vaccination in the country. The methodology of using ‘share of people vaccinated against the total population’ to analyze the success of a country’s vaccination is flawed as the countries analyzed in the data set do not fall in the same category as each of them varies in size of its population and its governance standards.

For example, Israel has just a population of 90 lakhs, and as per the data, Israel has vaccinated 60 percent of its total population that amounts to less than 55 lakh people vaccinated. Similarly, Chile has a population of about 1.9 crore people, out of which only 35 percent of the population, i.e, around 65 lakh people, have been vaccinated. Amusingly, Akhilesh Yadav cites data of Bahrain, whose population is just around 16.4 lakh, which is almost one-third of his parliamentary constituency Azamgarh in terms of population.

Apart from the UK and the US, which have relatively better medical and governance structures, the rest of the countries that feature in the list are small countries with low population. In the case of India, the 10 percent figure quoted in the data amounts to nearly 13 crore vaccinations, which itself is a huge number when compared to the absolute number of vaccinations carried out by other countries.

To put in a large perspective, Akhilesh Yadav’s own state – Uttar Pradesh, has administered more than 1.37 Crore doses, including 13.6 lacs dozes in the 18+ category in the state.

In fact, the objective of any nation, especially during the Covid-19 vaccination drive, is to vaccinate its entire population and every nation will eventually vaccinate most of its population in a specified time. Hence, the methodology of citing of share of the vaccinated population against the total population is not a rationale one to judge a country’s vaccination program.

Akhilesh Yadav selectively cites data to peddle misinformation

Interestingly, Our World in Data, the organization cited by Akhilesh Yadav, has put out another set of data, which the Samajwadi party leader has deliberately ignored to mention.

According to data published by Our World in Data, India stands second in terms of the total number of people vaccinated against Covid-19 across the world with administering more than 140 million doses to its population. As per the data, India is second to the United States of America, which has inoculated around 160 million doses, around 20 million more than India.

The data of total no. of vaccinated in each country put out by ‘Our World in Data’

In fact, if one goes by the official data, India is the fastest country globally to reach the landmark of administering 17 crore doses just in 114 days. In addition to that, India is among a handful of countries in the world that have developed their own vaccines and running the world’s largest vaccination drive.

However, Akhilesh Yadav selectively uses data from the vaccination surveys that suits his political narrative. It is also amusing that people like Akhilesh Yadav are questioning the government on its vaccination drive after carrying all sorts of false propaganda against the Indian-made vaccines. In fact, Akhilesh Yadav had waged war against the two Indian-made vaccines saying that he did not trust the vaccines as it was ‘BJP vaccine.’

It is also important to mention that the likes of Akhilesh Yadav had fear-mongered against Indian-made vaccines to further their political propaganda, thus creating a wave of vaccine hesitancy in the minds of the people. Despite several challenges, the Modi government has successfully administered more than 17 crore vaccines across the country, making it the fastest country to do so. In addition, the Modi government intends to complete the vaccination drive across the country by year-end, making it the first country in the world to vaccinate all its population.

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