Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) VG Somani on Sunday assured peoples about the safety of the two Covid-19 vaccines by Bharat Biotech and Oxford-AstraZeneca as he offered the final approval for the chances. Somani made the announcement approving Serum Institute of India-produced Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and natively created Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
“After adequate examination, CDSCO has decided to accept the recommendations of the Expert Committee and accordingly, vaccines of M/s Serum and M/s Bharat Biotech are being approved for restricted use in emergency situations,” Somani said during a question and answer session. “We’ll never approve anything if there is slightest of safety concern. The vaccines are 100 per cent safe. Some side effects like mild fever, pain and allergy are common for every vaccine. It is absolute rubbish that people may become impotent,” he was cited as saying by news office ANI.
Somani was trying to dispel rumours associated with vaccines as anti-vaccination groups continued to challenge the need and safety of the shots not only in India but also in several other countries despite rising Covid-19 cases and deaths. On Saturday, Samajwadi Party leader Ashutosh Sinha asserted that the vaccine against the Covid sickness could make individuals weak. Sinha’s comments came after his party’s chief Akhilesh Yadav said that he would not get vaccinated. He also discouraged people in Uttar Pradesh from getting vaccinated.
“If honourable Akhilesh Yadav has said this, then there will be something serious. We do not believe in the machinery of the government. He has said this based on facts. If he is not vaccinating himself, then I think COVID-19 vaccine might contain something, which can cause harm. Tomorrow, people will say the vaccine was given to kill or decrease the population. You can even become impotent, anything can happen,” Sinha said.
SP chief Yadav had said he won’t take the Covid-19 vaccine “at this moment”. “That too given by Bharatiya Janata Party. How can I trust the BJP’s vaccine, no chance? When our government is formed, everyone will get a free vaccine. We cannot take the BJP vaccine. The inoculation programme under the BJP-led regime cannot be trusted,” Yadav said.
The approval by DCGI was commended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he congratulated the drugs regulator and scientists who he said worked hard to develop the Covid-19 vaccines. PM Modi also featured that both the vaccines were produced in India and shows that the country’s medical and scientific community are working hard towards making the nation self-reliant. “It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion,” Modi tweeted after DCGI’s nod to the two vaccines.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that one crore medical services workers and two crore frontline workers will get free vaccine in the first phase. He said, “In 1st phase of COVID-19 vaccination free vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that includes 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers. Details of how further 27 cr priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised.”