Casting doubts over the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, National Conference (NC) patron Farooq Abdullah on Sunday, said that 'only time will tell if it works', a day after India inoculated 1,91,181 people under its nationwide vaccine drive. In contrast, his son - Omar Abdullah has said that he will 'roll up his sleeve & get a COVID vaccine'. Refuting ex-Uttar Pradesh CM Akhilesh Yadav's 'refusal to get vaccinated', the ex-Jammu-Kashmir CM said that the 'no vaccine belongs to any political party, they belong to humanity'.
"They are saying that a vaccine has come out. Only time will tell how well it works. I pray to God that this disease goes away," he said at a Srinagar press conference.
Politicisation over the vaccine was started by Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav who said hat 'I will not get vaccinated - that too on BJP's vaccine (COVID-19), as I don't trust it, at a press conference in Lucknow. While some Opposition politicians backed his claims, Congress MP Manish Tewari took a different view, questioning the lack of public data of Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN's trials and efficacy. Voicing out the concerns of various experts, Tewari claimed that the doctrine of informed consent violated as recipients did not have the choice between COVAXIN and COVISHIELD.
Replying to the Congress MP, Union Health Minister once again assure Tewari that the safety of the vaccine was assured and tested by the top Indian experts. Dr. Harsh Vardhan explained that COVAXIN is more likely to work against newer variants like N501Y Variant (UK variant) & any other variant and clarified hat COVAXIN was given a different approval i.e 'clinical trial mode' - where all COVAXIN recipients will be tracked, monitored as if they’re in trial. All beneficiaries have to sign a consent form which promises compensation in case of 'adverse effects'. These conditions and the alleged 'rush in approval' for COVAXIN have been questioned by several experts.
As informed by the Health ministry, the highest number of vaccines were administered in UP at 21291 followed by Andhra Pradesh at 18412, Maharashtra at 18328, Bihar at 18169, Odisha at 13746, Karnataka at 13594, Gujarat at 10787, Rajasthan at 9279, West Bengal at 9730, Madhya Pradesh at 9219, Kerala at 8062. The Health Ministry said 3,352 vaccination sessions were held and 1,91,181 beneficiaries vaccinated on the first day. The 11 states and union territories where both Covishield and Covaxin were administered were Assam (65 sessions), Bihar (301), Delhi (81), Haryana (77), Karnataka (242), Maharashtra (285), Odisha (161), Rajasthan (167) Tamil Nadu (160), Telangana (14) and Uttar Pradesh (317). The government has already purchased 1.1 crore COVISHIELD vaccine doses and 55 lakh COVAXIN vaccine shots - aiming to vaccinate 3 crore frontline warriors, in the first phase.