New Delhi: To tackle the circulation of misinformation against Covid-19 vaccination drive in India, Centre on Monday instructed all the states and union territories to take penal action under the provisions of Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code against those spreading “rumours” about the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines.
The written letter by Central government read, “I would like to strongly emphasize that the National Regulatory Authority in the country has found both the vaccine safe and immunogenic.” The Centre also showed its concern over “unfounded and misleading rumours mongering by vested interests” on the internet which could create doubts about the safety and efficacy of these vaccine, among the people at large.
The letter also urged the state and UTs governments to counter the spread of misinformation and disseminate factual messages adding that there was a need to check such scare mongering.
To note, the Disaster Management Act 2005 was implemented during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic across the country. Sections of the law have provisions for punishment, that could land someone in jail, for making false claims and spreading rumours.
Meanwhile, India on January 16 initiated the rollout of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Oxford and AstraZeneca’s Covishield, developed by Serum Institute of India across the nation, with an aim to inoculate 3 crore frontline health workers in its first phase.
Furthermore, concerns have been raised over the use of Covaxin, which is still in its trial run, where Doctors, at the fore in the immunisation drive, have asked for a choice in the vaccine being administered to them.