Addressing a press briefing on Thursday, BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia lashed out at the Congress party for casting aspersions over the novel coronavirus vaccine. He highlighted that the ICMR, the Health Ministry and scientists under the leadership of PM Modi developed two vaccines within a year's time. Accusing Congress leaders such as Rahul Gandhi of perpetuating the politics of "lies, deception and anarchy", he called upon them to render an explanation in the wake of PM Modi taking COVAXIN.
Hailing the Centre for ensuring priority vaccination of the COVID warriors, he alleged that the Gandhi family would have got vaccinated first if there was a Congress government. Revealing that more than 10 lakh doses of COVAXIN have been administered so far, he questioned the opposition on why it still had a problem with the COVID-19 vaccination. It is pertinent to note that Congress had linked the PM's inoculation to the election campaign in Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry and West Bengal. A day earlier, Bharat Biotech announced that COVAXIN showed 81% interim efficacy in preventing COVID-19 in those without prior infection after the second dose during the Phase 3 clinical trial.
BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia remarked, "Initially, the same people questioned why the PM is not taking the vaccine. After the PM took the vaccine, the confusion spread by these people over the efficacy of the vaccine has come to an end. Despite this, the opposition parties are not happy."
On January 3, the Drugs Controller General of India accepted the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, paving way for the approval of COVISHIELD and COVAXIN. Manufactured by the Serum Institute of India with technology transfer from Oxford University-AstraZeneca, COVISHIELD is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine with its overall efficacy of 70.42 percent. On the other hand, COVAXIN is a Whole Virion Inactivated Corona Virus Vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and NIV.
Countering the charge that COVAXIN was approved hastily, Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has made it clear that all the recipients of this vaccine will be tracked and monitored as if they are in clinical trial mode. On January 16, PM Modi launched the pan-India rollout of the novel coronavirus vaccination drive via video conferencing whereby the healthcare and frontline workers would get vaccinated in the first phase. Marking the commencement of the second phase of the inoculation drive on Monday, the PM was administered the first dose of COVAXIN by Puducherry nurse V Niveda while nurse Rosamma Anil hailing from Kerala was present on this occasion.
He will be given the second dose 28 days later. All persons aged above 60 and those above 45 with comorbidities are eligible to get themselves vaccinated by registering on the Co-Win portal. So far, 1,59,85,802 beneficiaries have been inoculated out of which 29,82,416 persons have been administered the second dose of the vaccine too.