Mumbai: The Congress party has raised serious doubts over the Drug Control General's restricted emergency use approval for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
Congress MPs Jairam Ramesh and Sashi Tharoor have argued that the third phase of testing has not been done for Covaxin and sought an explanation from the health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
Tharoor even warned against the use of Covaxin, saying its approval was premature. ‘‘The third phase of testing has not yet taken place. The fact that it has already been approved can prove dangerous. Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan should give an explanation in this regard. Its clearance should be avoided until all tests are performed. India, meanwhile, could launch the campaign with the AstraZeneca vaccine," said Tharoor.
On the other hand, Ramesh, who heads the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, wanted to know why the internationally accepted protocol was being modified for approving Covaxin. He noted, ‘’ Bharat Biotech is a first class company. Surprisingly, the internationally accepted protocol for the third phase of testing for Covaxin is being revised. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan should clarify this.’’
However, environment minister Prakash Javadekar slammed the Congress party. In his tweet in Hindi, he said, ‘‘(It smacks of bankruptcy of the Congress. First, they asked for proof of the Balakot air strike by India. Then, they expressed doubts about the Pulwama attack. Now, they are doubting the vaccines too. What is this if not bankruptcy of ideas?"
Union civil aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri, in turn, led a scathing attack against Ramesh and Tharoor. He also lashed out Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav Akhilesh Yadav for asserting that he couldn't ''trust the BJP's vaccine.''
He dubbed these opposition leaders "in-house cynics" and said that they had "first questioned the valour of our soldiers & are now unhappy that the two vaccines to get DCGI nod are made in India".
Taking to Twitter, Puri wrote, "Our in-house cynics -- M/s Jairam, Tharoor & Akhilesh -- are behaving true to form. They first questioned the valour of our soldiers & are now unhappy that the two vaccines to get the DCGI’s nod are made in India. Clearly they are on a quest for permanent political marginalization."