Fact Check

Damn If You Do, Damn If you Don’t – Approach of Congress on Vaccine

Even after the Union Health Minister detailed why COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech got the approval from the experts, Congress continued to sow doubts on the minds of people. Latest leader of the blocks is Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari who casted aspersions without naming Bharat Biotech.

It should be noted that the approval given to different vaccines by two companies are for restricted use in ‘emergency’ situation. The approval given to Bharat Biotech is also on the basis of its success in two phases as well as the progress in the third stage with a large sample size. So, the argument that there is a hurry in the approval procedure doesn’t hold water. One may refer to our earlier article The COVID Vaccine Clearances – All That you Need to Know that has presented all the facts.

In any case, if these vaccine candidates display any adverse effect during this period it will give the necessary time to act accordingly.

However, this is the same Congress that was questioning the status of the vaccine. Rahul Gandhi of the Congress party had cited the example of UK, US, and Russia to suggest that India was left far behind.

So, Rahul Gandhi and Congress can trust and endorse the announcement of other countries about the arrival of vaccine, but when India, and an Indian company comes up with a vaccine, they have questions to be raised.

This is the classic example of “damn if you do, damn if you don’t” approach.

Note a particular argument of Manish Tewari in which he reportedly says, “The BJP government has done a great disservice to that company which must have invested crores of rupees in research and development.”

Apart from the fact that it is not the “BJP government” but the expert committee that reviewed and gave approvals, the above argument has other problems. Is Manish Tewari batting for a monopoly of a company in vaccine distribution? Is he against choices and more than one success for India on the Corona vaccine front? No doubt the Serum Institute deserves all the praise for tying up with a British institute and taking the risk of producing vaccine doses even as the trials were going abroad. But the fact is other companies have also invested “crores of Rupees in research and development.” They also gone through the procedures. So, what is the “disservice” or “danger” in giving a level-playing field for more players?

While Congress seems to be trying to pit one company against another on the vaccine issue, Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech have issued a joint statement saying they will work together to ensure that the people are protected from the pandemic.