New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has advised states to take penal action against people who are “spreading rumours” about the efficacy of coronavirus vaccines.
Two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – are being administered since the process was rolled out in India on January 16.
Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to all states and union territories, urging them to find a way to deal with misinformation and take penal action, under Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code, against those spreading rumours about Covaxin and Covishield’s effectiveness.
“I would like to strongly emphasize that the National Regulatory Authority in the country has found both the vaccines safe and immunogenic. However, it has been reported that unfounded and misleading rumours are circulating, in social and other media, creating doubt about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines. Such kind of rumour mongering, particularity by vested interests, can create unwarranted doubts among people at large, and there is, therefore, a need to check all such kinds of unfounded scare-mongering related to the efficacy and immunogenicity of the vaccines,” Bhalla stated in his letter.
The Centre’s move comes in the wake of widespread debate about the vaccines, especially Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin which was in the midst of Phase 3 trials when it was approved for emergency use.
Assuring all stakeholders, the Home Secretary stressed that the government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that the vaccination drive is successful and the pandemic is eventually eradicated.