Prime Minister Narendra Modi's decision to take his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine triggered a political slugfest on Monday. Opposition parties linked Modi's attire during inoculation and the association of the nurses, to poll-bound states.
Nurse P Niveda, who hails from Puducherry, administered Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN to the prime minister. In the photo posted by Modi on Twitter, Niveda and a second nurse from Kerala can be seen. The prime minister was sporting an Assamese 'gamocha' at the time of his vaccination at AIIMS in Delhi. He went to the hospital without any route restrictions and chose early morning hours to ensure that there was no inconvenience to people.
Senior Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury linked Modi's "gamocha" to the upcoming assembly election in Assam, also highlighting that the nurses who administered the vaccine belonged to poll-bound Kerala and Puducherry. Elections in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and West Bengal, are set to be held in March and April.
"In PM's inoculation visuals, there was 'gamcha' (Assam), and nurses who vaccinated him were from Kerala and Puducherry. Coincidentally, there are elections in these states. It would have been 5 states had he also carried Rishi Aurobindo's photo and Geetanjali," Chowdhury said.
Meanwhile, AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi questioned the efficacy of Covishield, one of the two anti-coronavirus vaccines approved by the DGCI for emergency use. Citing a government report, Owaisi claimed that Covishield is effective for those between 18 and 64 years and it doesn't work for above 64.
"Everybody in the country will have to take coronavirus vaccine be it Covishield or Covaxin. I have one question, the German government said that Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India... the data published on the website of AstraZeneca says that it is good for people between 18 and 64 years. It is not effective on those above 64," he said.
"It is a coincidence that PM Modi received a Covaxin shot. I want to request the government to clear the confusion," the Hyderabad MP further said.
Covaxin is the second vaccine that has been granted emergency use nod by the DGCI. Covaxin is a fully indigenous vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech.