COVID-19 vaccine: JP Nadda slams Opposition over 'politicising' vaccination drive
New Delhi, June 21: BJP national president JP Nadda has said that the issue of COVID-19 vaccine was heavily politicised by the opposition parties, adding the ongoing vaccination drive in India is the fastest and the largest globally.
"Firstly, it was said that there will be hesitancy in taking the COVID-19 vaccine and the medical trials haven't been completed. Some politicians even said people should be treated as guinea pigs or rats. What kind of language is this?" Nadda said while speaking to reporters after paying a visit to the vaccination centre in Delhi.
Nadda's reference to the phrase "guinea pigs" can be seen as an indirect attack at senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who said in December last year that India should not be made an experiment lab and the citizens should not be made guinea pigs for vaccine trials.
The BJP leader pointed out an attempt was made to malign the vaccination drive but despite this, 1.3 billion citizens of the country came forward to get inoculated against the viral disease on the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I want to ask a question to those politicians who called themselves guinea pigs. Today, they are getting themselves vaccinated. So what happened to them? These people left no stone unturned in politicising such a holy initiative," Nadda told reporters.
Opposition party leaders, including Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi have heavily criticised the Centre over its vaccination policy.
Akhilesh Yadav, who said in January that he won't vaccinate himself, took a U-Turn and announced on June 8 that he will take a jab against the viral disease. "Seeing the public outrage, the government instead of politicising the corona vaccine announced that it would give the vaccines doses. We were against the BJP's vaccine but welcome the vaccine of the Government of India. I will also get vaccinated. I appeal to those who could not get vaccinated for the lack of vaccines to do so," Yadav tweeted.
Rahul Gandhi, who has been the strongest critic of the Centre's COVID-19 response, targeted the Centre on June 16 over its decision to extend the gap between two doses of Covishield from 12 to 16 weeks. In May, the Congress leader said if vaccination continues at the present pace, the entire population will be only inoculated by 2024.