"Covid Vaccines Completely Safe, Ignore Rumours": Health Minister

Some 7.86 lakh people have been vaccinated in India till yesterday, according to data released by the government.

New Delhi:

Rumours and misinformation spread about Covid vaccines should be ignored as these vaccines are "completely safe and effective", Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Singh said today as he unveiled posters to address the issue of vaccine hesitancy in some sections of the population.

"The vaccines - Covaxin (produced by Serum Institute of India) and Covishield (by Bharat Biotech) are safe to use. The so-called side-effects are normal to any vaccination process. The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines, while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubt for narrow political ends," Mr Vardhan said.

Mr Vardhan said the posters prepared by the Health Ministry were meant to allay any doubts related to the vaccines and urged people to make it a mass campaign. "The vaccination against Covid will create persons incapable of transmitting the disease and eradicate the disease altogether in some time," he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the health ministry.

The minister urged everyone to counter the "vested campaigns of untruth and misinformation".

"Let us put a stop to these falsehoods," he said.

He appealed to people to seek correct information regarding the COVID-19 vaccines from credible and authentic sources such as the health ministry, the information and broadcasting ministry, the Press Information Bureau (PIB), the MyGov website etc., according to the statement.

Since its launch on January 16, the vaccine drive has failed to meet targets in many states amid hesitancy from healthcare workers and others at the frontline of the coronavirus fight over fear of side effects that may arise after taking the shots.

Some 7.86 lakh people have been vaccinated in India till yesterday, according to data released by the government.

The government has reported hospitalisation from side effects in only 0.002% of vaccine recipients. "Adverse events" have been reported in 0.18 per cent of recipients. Tackling concerns over Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, which is still in Phase 3 clinical trials, the government stressed that both vaccines were safe.

With additional inputs from agencies