Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take the first shot of coronavirus vaccine, RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav said today, appearing to cast doubts on a day a countrywide dry-run was held to prepare for the vaccine rollout in the next few days.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi should take first shot of COVID19 vaccine, then, we will also take it," Tej Pratap Yadav, the older son of RJD chief Lalu Yadav, said.
Last week, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) granted restricted emergency use authorisation to two vaccines, Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Earlier this week, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said his government was prepared to give vaccine shots across the state.
Tej Pratap Yadav's comments add to the criticism expressed by many other politicians on the government's vaccine policy and the emergency clearance to Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, which is still in Phase 3 of trials.
"The BJP government has politically misused the Covid-19 pandemic in its entirety. The controversy over the vaccine is its latest manifestation. Who is going to get himself vaccinated with a vaccine that has question marks on its reliability," Congress leader Manish Tewari was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav, referring to the controversy over the lack of efficacy data for Covaxin, said: "BJP (people) should get vaccinated first."
Bharat Biotech chairman Krishna Ella, responding to the criticism, said: "Don't accuse us of inexperience. We are a global company... have manufactured 16 vaccines. It is not correct to say we are not transparent with data. We conduct clinical trials in many countries, including the UK. The point is we are not an Indian company... but a global one."
On Tuesday, both vaccine makers Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, put out a joint statement pledging to work for a smooth rollout and a focus on providing "high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines."