On June 21, Magsaysay Award-winning journalist and NDTV India Editor Ravish Kumar had yet another meltdown. This time, his target was the Covid vaccination program. To understand why he was so rattled up, it is important to understand the context of his rant. On Monday, India achieved a milestone by administrating over 85 lakh doses in a single day. As per Ministry of Health and Family welfare, India administered a total of 86,16,373 vaccine doses on Monday.
To put it in perspective, it was equal to administering the dose to the entire population of Switzerland in one day. On average, India has been administrating anywhere between 20 lakh to 40 lakh doses in a single day. As India celebrated the milestone, the festivities seem to have hit on Ravish’s wrong nerve, and he went ballistic against the celebrations. Ramon Magsaysay award winning ‘journalist’ compared India of the 1980s to India of 2020s to create a pessimistic and hopeless outlook.
What did Ravish say?
Ravish, in his Facebook post, compared Monday’s achievement with the Pulse Polio vaccination program, in which 17 crore doses were administered in a single day in February 2012. He said, “In February 2012, under Pulse Polio, two drops of polio medicine was administered to more than 17 crore children in a day. Ten years later, the government exerts its full force with the help of Godi Media filled with propaganda and advertisements worth crores of rupees and administer only 85 lakh vaccines a day.”
He further claimed that for six months, the government has been calling it the world’s biggest vaccination campaign, but it failed to even touch one crore doses in a single day. Talking about Uttar Pradesh, he claimed that the government is planning to administer six lakh doses every day, which cannot be termed as ‘record-breaking success’. “Six months have passed, and only two per cent of UP’s population has received two doses,” he said.
Attacking the BJP-ruled states like Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and others, he claimed the performance was not better than average. Whining about the vaccination drive being compared to that of New Zealand, which is yet to vaccinate its 50 lakh population, Ravish claimed that India should not compare its COVID management to the island country as New Zealand’s COVID management has been considered a success.
He also attacked the government for supplying 25% vaccine to private hospitals and said people are paying money for the doses at Rs. 780 and Rs. 1410 in such hospitals. He ended his rant by claiming that the government vaccinated a fraction of the population and propagated it as an achievement, which according to him, is a failure in reality.
Ravish Kumar’s rant is baseless
Ravish started his argument with the most illogical comparison. He compared the achievement with a single-day record made by the Pulse Polio campaign in 2012. Going by his argument, one can assume the pulse polio campaign must have started close to that particular date as it is being compared to the Covid-19 vaccination program. However, the reality is Pulse Polio campaign was launched in India in 1995 after it committed to the resolution passed by World Health Organization to eradicate polio in 1988. It took India 14 years to achieve the said record of vaccinating 17 crore children in a single day.
Another point that needs to be discussed here is the availability of the polio vaccine. The oral polio vaccine was made available for commercial use in 1961. However, Expanded Programme on Immunisation was started in 1978 and it was only in 1995 that mass immunisation campaign started.
On the other hand, in the case of the Covid-19 vaccine, India has developed its own vaccine, i.e. Covaxin. Another vaccine that is being manufactured in India under license, i.e. Covidshield, is not only being manufactured for India but also for other countries. Though the export of the vaccines is on hold for the time being in the near future, India will be one of the largest exporters of the Covid-19 vaccine, especially for the developing nations.
For pulse polio vaccination, no one needs to get registered. The healthcare workers, NGO volunteers, and Government appointed workers to go from door-to-door to administer the vaccine. In the case of the Covid-19 vaccine, one has to get registered either via the CoWin portal or at the vaccination centre that takes time. Also, the Covid-19 vaccine can only be administered by trained healthcare workers. Ravish Kumar, while ranting against June 21 achievement, forgot how things work in different vaccination drives.
India successfully eradicated polio in 2014. The last case of polio was detected in Howrah, West Bengal on 13 January 2011. On 27 March 2014, WHO gave India the ‘polio-free certificate. 63-years after vaccine was invented, India became polio free. But in less than 2 years detection of a completely new disease if India manages to administer over 80 lakh vaccines, including one which is made-in-India, it is not an achievement India needs to celebrate, per Ravish.
Ravish’s hate for PM Modi is so unreal that he has now started peddling propaganda in name of criticism.
Netizens mocked Ravish for his illogical meltdown
Reacting to his meltdown, several netizens called him out for the baseless comparison and allegations he had put up in his post. One user Aarzo Gangwar said those who are under five years of age could be forced by their parents to take the vaccine, but it is not possible to vaccinate people with the Covid-19 vaccine if there is no consent. It has to be noted that the Covid-19 vaccination is not mandatory. The government is not going to force anyone to take the vaccine.
People are giving him befitting reply 😂 pic.twitter.com/A3mBQbacaK— Jacob (@vishalRanaaaa) June 21, 2021
Another user Rahul Joshi wrote that Ravish cried when the number was at 10 lakh, and now he is crying when the numbers have touched 80 lakh.
Activist Anshul Saxena wrote that polio vaccination could be administered by NSS, NGOs etc., but the Covid vaccine has to be administered by trained healthcare professionals.
One Raj Kumar Sah said he used to be his fan, but after seeing his rant on the Covid vaccine, he thinks Ravish has gone mad.
One user went ahead and told him medicine for his ailment. He gave the recipe and said, “take this medicine, and the worms that force you to publish such posts will die in two days.”
Ravish’s record of baseless rants
This is not the first time Ravish has gone on the path of baseless rants. In December 2020, he lied about Adani’s grain silos in Punjab. In July 2020, he had a major meltdown when the first batch of Rafale jets had arrived in India. Interestingly, he has been vocal against the farm laws, but he had weighed in for similar reforms in 2015.