Bharat’s fully indigenously developed vaccine, Covaxin, which was developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) – National Institute of Virology (NIV), has been under attack from vested interests within and without the country from Day One.
Last January, we were told that the vaccine was ‘untested’ and received ‘hasty approvals’ from authorities. Then Congress started a lie that Covaxin contained cow-calf serum. The US denial of emergency use approval for Covaxin (US already had enough approved vaccines and surplus stocks at that time) was projected as another ‘setback’. All the while, there were chorus calls for Bharat to import foreign vaccines, especially the US made Pfizer and Moderna jabs.
Now, with Covaxin being the only vaccine approved for 15-18 year olds and that drive starting from January 1, the MSM innuendo and half-truth mill has cranked up again. Exasperated, Bharat Biotech has come out with detailed fact checking on incorrect stories by 4 media outlets
Moneycontrol and Times of India
Deccan Herald and The Wire
It is a tragedy for the country that a company we should have been lauding and celebrating for their scientific achievement, along with ICMR and NIV, is facing a consistent campaign of calumny. Earlier too, Bharat Biotech’s Joint Managing Director Suchitra Ella had stated how disheartening it is to see certain states play politics over Covaxin.
In November, Bharat Biotech’s founder and chairperson Dr Krishna Ella had opened about how negative media publicity created hurdles for the company and delayed international approvals:
“…many media people who are negative, they even wrote to the scientific journals to look into some death in Bhopal. It happened because of suicide but it was blamed on vaccine.
The way anti-things happen, that has hurt us more. I want people to realise instead of criticising just ask us, we will tell the truth. But making own opinion that hurt us very badly – that got delayed, some of the process…
When Prime Minister took the vaccine, immediately they said it’s a BJP vaccine, it’s a Modi vaccine. All sorts of synonyms. We are scientists, we don’t understand the politics”.
What explains such attitudes of sections of our media fraternity and English-speaking populace? There is only word that explains it – mental colonization. Decolonizing the country’s minds, especially of our elites, is the foremost challenge facing us if we want to be respected globally.