Union Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri on Sunday slammed senior Congress leaders Shashi Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh after they questioned the Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) emergency use authorization for Bharat Biotech's coronavirus vaccine. Puri also lashed out at Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav after he said that he couldn't "trust the BJP's vaccine".
Puri called these opposition leaders "in-house cynics" and said that they "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, the Civil Aviation Minister 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 DCGI nod are made in India. Clearly they are on a quest for permanent political marginalization."
Earlier in the day, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said that the emergency use authorization to COVID-19 vaccine -- Covaxin is premature and could be dangerous as it is still under phase 3 trial. He urged Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to wait till full trials of the vaccine are completed.
Taking to Twitter, Tharoor said, "The Covaxin has not yet had Phase 3 trials. Approval was premature and could be dangerous. @drharshvardhan should please clarify. Its use should be avoided till full trials are over. India can start with the AstraZeneca vaccine in the meantime."
Jairam Ramesh also raised concerns and asked the Health Minister to clarify why internationally-accepted protocols on phase 3 trials are being modified.
"Bharat Biotech is a first-rate enterprise, but it is puzzling that internationally-accepted protocols relating to phase 3 trials are being modified for Covaxin. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan should clarify," the senior Congress leader said on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed the approval a "decisive turning point" in India's fight against coronavirus.
"DCGI granting approval to vaccines of @SerumInstIndia and @BharatBiotech accelerates the road to a healthier and COVID-free nation. Congratulations India. Congratulations to our hardworking scientists and innovators," he tweeted.
"It would make every Indian proud that the two vaccines that have been given emergency use approval are made in India! This shows the eagerness of our scientific community to fulfil the dream of an Atma Nirbhar Bharat, at the root of which is care and compassion," he said in another tweet.