New Delhi [India], January 4 (ANI): A day after Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri called Shashi Tharoor a cynic for criticising the Drugs Controller General of India's (DCGI) approval of COVAXIN for "restricted use in an emergency situation" without this COVID-19 vaccine having completed phase III trials, the Congress leader said the "unseemly haste" of the Centre can risk the good reputation of India both as a producer and consumer.
In a series on tweets, Tharoor replied to the charge made by the Union Minister and said "vaccine nationalism" has trumped a generation of established scientific protocols.
"India actually has a good reputation in the vaccine world, both as a producer (60 per cent of the world's vaccines) and as a consumer (the success of polio and smallpox vaccination campaigns). This unseemly haste risks jeopardising both, especially if COVAXIN turns out to be ineffective," he tweeted.
"Worse, if it turns out to be unsafe. But it is typical of a govt that prefers slogans over substance. Chest-thumping 'vaccine nationalism', combined with the Prime Minister's "Atmanirbhar Bharat" campaign, has trumped common sense and a generation of established scientific protocols," he said in another tweet.
Yesterday, after Union Minister Puri's allegations, the Congress leader had has issued a clarification on Twitter and said he had never questioned the valour of Indian soldiers, and that he would be happy and proud if more Indian vaccines were approved, but only after a full III-phase trial confirmed they are safe and effective.
"Short-circuiting the process is unprecedented, inadvisable and risks lives," he had said.
Citing a media report, he added, "We are baffled to understand what scientific logic has motivated the SEC to approve this vaccine post-haste... in violation of the criteria in the draft regulatory guidelines for the development of Covid-19 vaccines published by CDSCO on September 21, 2020."
Union Minister Puri has called Congress leaders Tharoor and Jairam Ramesh, and Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav as "in-house cynics."
"Our in-house cynics M/s Jairam, Tharoor and Akhilesh are behaving true to form. They first questioned the valour of our soldiers and are now unhappy that the two vaccines to get DCGI nod are made in India. Clearly, they are on a quest for permanent political marginalisation," he had tweeted. (ANI)