DNA Exclusive report exposes political war over indigenous COVID-19 vaccine; here’s how

New Delhi: People may have apprehension about the efficacy of Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, which recently got emergency use approval by India’s drug regulator, but the way some opposition parties have expressed concern over the absence of Phase 3 trial data, cautioning that “sidestepping” processes and giving “premature” clearance could risk lives, can not be supported. 

The DNA report will try to make you understand why this lack of confidence is being expressed about the indigenous or Swadeshi vaccine of India, and also try to clear doubts of the Congress and other opposition parties through a reality test of Zee New reporter Pooja Makkar

Firstly, you should know that the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) has given emergency use approval to not one but the two vaccines. The first is Covishield, which is a joint venture of Oxford University and AstraZeneca company. The Serum Institute of India has also been part of this research and is also producing this vaccine. The institute has got the emergency use approval. The results of the third or final trial of this vaccine have not yet been made public, but no doubts have been raised against it as it was made by Oxford University. The Congress and other opposition parties also feel confident about this vaccine as it has been made abroad.

On the contrary, doubts have been raised over the efficacy of Bharat Biotech produced indigenous vaccine, Covaxin, or Made in India vaccine, which also got the emergency use approval. The Covaxin will be administered to people only in clinical trial mode, and such people will also be monitored after vaccination. The key aspect is that the data of the third trial of this vaccine have not yet been given to DCGI, and it may take two more days. This is the reason Covaxin is under question. 

The mentality of refrain from Made in India products is perhaps also working against Bharat Biotech’s indigenous vaccine, which is cheaper in terms of price. The opposition parties now want to spread this doubt like a virus among more and more people so that they refuse to get this Made in India vaccine, thereby, cornering the current dispensation.

The government, however, is striving hard to vaccinate maximum people to defeat coronavirus as early as it can, while the opposition appears to be determined to create confusion to foil this mega exercise. Opposition parties have also termed the Corona vaccine as the BJP’s vaccine. 

This simply means that the vaccines produced under the erstwhile governments should also be termed vaccine of that party. In 1948, the BCG vaccine was launched in India to protect children from TB disease, when Jawaharlal Nehru was the Prime Minister of the country.

The Polio vaccine was launched in 1978, under the Janata Party government, and Morarji Desai was the then Prime Minister. In 2010, the Swine Flu vaccine was introduced when Dr Manmohan Singh was the Prime Minister of the country, but no hue and cry was made. 

The current politics over vaccine is no less surprising when the current dispensation is facing protests and opposition on all fronts. 

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