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Set to begin world’s largest vaccination drive, says PM Modi

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday praised the scientists and technicians for the two ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 vaccines approved by the government a day earlier. Meanwhile, the centre continued to lash out at the opposition for raising doubts over the vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.

“The new year has brought with it a new achievement. Indian scientists have not developed just one, but two Covid vaccines,” the PM said, addressing the National Metrology Conclave. “We are on the threshold of starting the largest vaccination programme in the world. The entire country is indebted to all scientists and technicians.”

The centre slammed opposition leaders for questioning the efficacy of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. A number of opposition leaders from the Congress, Samajwadi Party and other parties had raised concern over completion of trials and efficacy of Covaxin.

“Congress and other parties are doing petty politics over vaccines. This will badly impact the morale of the Indian scientists who have achieved his feat,” BJP spokesman Sambit Patra said at a presser in Delhi. “It’s a matter of pride that two indigenous vaccines have been given approval for clinical usage. It’s another step towards PM Modi’s AatmaNirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).”

Congress leaders such as Shashi Tharoor, Jairam Ramesh and Anand Sharma had raised concern over Covaxin, saying its phase three trial was not yet complete. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav had said he won’t take the “BJP’s vaccine”.

“Whenever India achieves something to be proud of, it has become a practice for Congress and other opposition parties to crib about the same,” said Patra. He called Congress a “mutant virus, which always tries to misguide the people of the country”.

On Sunday, the BJP’s national president JP Nadda had taken the lead in attacking the opposition over the vaccine and he was followed by a number of BJP leaders and Union ministers. “Within a year of the Covid-19 pandemic coming to India, our scientists and innovators have worked hard for a vaccine to cure this pandemic. While the entire nation is happy about this, the opposition led by the Congress is filled with anger, ridicule and disdain,” Nadda had said in a post on Twitter. Union health minister Harsh Vardhan too has sought to allay concerns over the vaccines on social media since Sunday.

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