Dr. Harsh Vardhan,Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare today unveiledIEC posters to address the emerging issue of vaccine hesitancy in some sections of population in the country in presence of Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare and Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), Niti Aayog.The world’s largest immunisation exercise against COVID-19 was launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister on 16th January 2021.More than 8 lakh healthcare workers have been vaccinated till 7 am on 21st Jan 2021.The Union Health Minister reminded everyone of the achievements of the country, the second most populous country in the world. He said, “India is one of the few countries to halt the march of COVID-19 and simultaneouslydevelop a vaccine for COVID, thanks to the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji who bestowed his personal attention to get the country rid of the pandemic.” Today, the country is seeing a steady decline in the active cases. Around 15,000 daily new cases were reported yesterday, he added.Explaining the role of the vaccination in eradicating diseases, he noted, “The elimination of Polio and Smallpox was made possible by large scale immunization. Once immunized, not only that person is not capable of catching the disease, he/she is also unable to transmit the disease to others thus passing on the social benefit to the larger society he/she interacts with. This was also the logic of undertaking mass immunization of women and children against the twelve diseases under Mission Indradhanush. Vaccination against COVID will similarly create persons incapable of transmitting the disease and eradicate the disease altogetherin some time.”
Dr Harsh Vardhan urged everyone to counter the vested campaigns of untruth and misinformaiton. “Let us put a STOP to these falsehoods”, he forcefully said. He appealed to people to seek the correct information from credible and authentic sources such as the Health Ministry, PIB, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, MyGov website etc. He reiterated that “Truth is powerful and shall prevail”. And encouraged everyone to share the IEC posters to mulitply the virtuous cycle of truth.Commenting on the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, he said, “All eminent doctors of well-known hospitals have taken the vaccine and praised the exercise for its desired end. It is only a handful of vested political interests who are interested in spreading rumour and encouraging vaccine hesitancy among those vulnerable to such propaganda in the population.The paradox is that countries across the globe are asking us for access to the vaccines while a section of our own is fomenting misinformation and doubt for narrow political ends.” He stated that the prominent doctors along with many other healthcare workers within the government and the private sector have taken the COVID19 vaccine, and have returned to their work without any side effects.Terming the Vaccination Drive as ‘AntimPrahaar’ against COVID, Shri Ashwini Kumar Choubey said, “16th January is a red-letter day for it began the countdown of ending the pandemic. India has taken a revolutionary decision to provide the vaccines at the earliest.” He also appealed everyone to not follow the campaigns of mistruth but help everyone by sharing the correct information.Shri Rajesh Bhushan,Union Health Secretary, Ms. Vandana Gurnani,Addl. Secretary and MD, NHM, Shri Manohar Agnani, Addl. Secretary (Health), Dr. Sunil Kumar, DGHS, MoHFW and other senior officials were present at the event.Dr. Balram Bhargava, DG, ICMR, Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director, AIIMS, Dr N N Mathur, Director LHMC, Dr. S. V. Arya, MS, Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Rana A. K. Singh, MS, RML Hospital and representatives of development partners like BMGF, UNICEF and WHO attended the event virtually.