Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav Saturday termed the Covid-19 vaccines to be rolled out in the country as “vaccine of the Bharatiya Janata Party” and said he would not take the shot, drawing a sharp retort from the ruling party which accused him of “insulting” the doctors and scientists.
“How can I trust the vaccine, which will be used for vaccination by the BJP? We cannot get vaccinated by the BJP’s vaccine,” he told reporters.
He also said his party will come to power in the state after 2022 elections and everybody will get the vaccine free.
His remarks promoted an instant rebuttal from BJP leader and Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya who termed the statement an “insult to the doctors and scientists of the country”.
“Akhilesh Yadav does not have trust in the vaccine, and people of Uttar Pradesh do not have trust in Akhilesh Yadav. His raising questions on the vaccine is an insult to doctors and scientists of the country. He should tender an apology,” Maurya told reporters.
Vaccine trial dry run
A trial drill for distribution of COVID-19 vaccine began across the country on Saturday, officials said. Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, who was visiting the Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in Delhi to review the Covid-19 vaccine dry run, said the vaccine would be free for ‘the entire country’.
The first dry run was held in four states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam — earlier this week.
In anticipation of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that is just one step away from being approved by India’s top drug regulator, select hospitals across the country conducted an inoculation dry run on Saturday.
The nationwide rehearsal was to understand the best way to administer the vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training. India, which has more than one crore three lakh cases of infection, will conduct the largest vaccination drive in the world.
The Union health minister reviewed the process at Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital in New Delhi and told reporters afterwards that the government would not compromise on any protocol in approving a vaccine, and appealed to people not to be misguided by rumours regarding the safety and efficacy of shots.
The health minister also said vaccines would be administered free of cost to priority groups in the first phase on India’s inoculation drive. This includes one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers. Vardhan said the details of the second phase, in July, which will include vaccines for 27 crore more beneficiaries, is being worked out. “Not just in Delhi, it will be free across the country,” he said.