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Check vaccine rumours; take penal action against those indulging in such acts: MHA to states | India News – Times of India

All frontline workers are being inoculated as per the priority decided by the National Expert Group on Vaccine…Read More

NEW DELHI: The

Centre

has asked the states to take appropriate measures to counter the spread of unfounded and misleading rumours regarding the safety of the two Covid-19 vaccines being administered in the country, and advised them to take penal action against those who are found to be involved in the dissemination of such ill-informed news.

In a letter sent to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, the

Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla

emphasised that both

Covishield

vaccine, manufactured by

Serum Institute of India

, and

Covaxin

, developed by Bharat Biotech Limited, were approved for inoculation after they were found safe and immunogenic by the National Regulatory Authority.

The secretary, however, drew attention to reports of unfounded and misleading rumours circulating in social and other media, “creating doubts about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines”.

“Such kind of rumour mongering, particularly by vested interests, can create unwarranted doubts among people at large, and there is, therefore, a need to check all kinds of unfounded scare-mongering relating to the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccines,” he said in a letter dated January 19.

The government of India, in collaboration with the states and Union territories, launched the countrywide inoculation drive of Covid-19 vaccination from January 16 onwards.

The Union home secretary said healthcare workers and frontline workers are being inoculated as per the priority decided by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), and subsequently the priority groups 2 and 3 will be vaccinated.

The home secretary urged the states and UTs to put in place an appropriate mechanism to check the spread of ill-informed rumours and directed all chief secretaries to take appropriate necessary measures to counter the spread of all false information about the vaccines as well as promptly disseminate factual messages.

“Further, penal action may be taken against the person/s or organisation/s who is/are found to have indulged in such activities, under the relevant provisions of the

Disaster Management Act

, 2005 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860,” he stated.

The vaccination for priority grounds 2 and 3 will be taken up. Bhalla said the government of India was taking all steps to ensure that the vaccination drive is successful and the pandemic is eventually eradicated.

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