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Govt warns of action against those spreading rumours about vaccines


New Delhi, Jan 25: The central government on Monday warned of stern action against those spreading "ill-informed rumours" about coronavirus vaccines.

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Reportedly, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to states and union territories reminded of existing provisions under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code, and urged them to apply such provisions to "counter the spread of all such kind of false information about the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as promptly disseminate factual messages.

The central government, in close collaboration with the state governments and UT administrations, has launched the inoculation drive of COVID-19 vaccination from January 16 across the country with the two vaccines.

The Union home secretary said healthcare workers and frontline workers are being inoculated as per the priority decided by the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC), and subsequently the priority groups 2 and 3 will be vaccinated.

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"I would like to strongly emphasise that the National Regulatory Authority in the country has found both the vaccines safe and immunogenic. However, it has been reported that unfounded and misleading rumours are circulating on social and other media, creating doubt about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines.

"Such kind of rumour mongering, particularly by vested interests, can create unwarranted doubts among people at large, and there is, therefore, a need to check all such kinds of unfounded scare mongering relating to the safety and immunogenicity of the vaccines," the communication said.

Urging the states and UTs to put in place an appropriate mechanism to check the spread of such ill-informed rumours, Bhalla asked the chief secretaries to direct all the authorities concerned under the state government to take appropriate necessary measures to counter the spread of all such kind of "false information" about COVID-19 vaccines as well as promptly disseminate factual messages.

"Further, penal action may be taken against the person/s or organisation/s who is/ are found to have indulged in such activities, under the relevant provisions of the Disaster Management Act. 2005 and the Indian Penal Code, 1860," he said.

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    It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have been consistantly urging the people to defeat the every network lies by providing right information.

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