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COVID-19 vaccine certificates not to carry PM Modi's photo in poll-bound states: Health Ministry

This comes after the poll panel had directed Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to remove the photos from certificates in four poll-bound states and a Union Territory.

March 11, 2021 / 02:46 PM IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a picture of getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot at around 7:00 am on March 1. In the picture, he is seen sporting an Assamese 'gamocha' and getting inoculated with a smile on his face. Sister P Niveda from Puducherry and a second nurse can be seen in the picture posted by the PM. (Image: Twitter/@DDNewslive)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a picture of getting the COVID-19 vaccine shot at around 7:00 am on March 1. In the picture, he is seen sporting an Assamese 'gamocha' and getting inoculated with a smile on his face. Sister P Niveda from Puducherry and a second nurse can be seen in the picture posted by the PM. (Image: Twitter/@DDNewslive)

The COVID-19 vaccination certificates will not carry pictures of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in poll-bound states and Union Territory, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided, in accordance with directives of the Election Commission (EC) of India.

The ministry has introduced filters on CoWin website to mask the PM’s photo on the vaccination certificates meant for distribution in the poll-bound states of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Kerala, and the Union Territory of Puducherry.

READ: EC seeks Health Ministry response after PM Modi’s photo appears on COVID-19 vaccine certificate

This comes after the poll panel had last week sought the response of the ministry to find out the “factual position” on the plaint filed by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) over the use of Prime Minister Modi’s picture on COVID-19 vaccine certificates. In its complaint, the TMC had accused PM Modi of stealing the due credit from frontline workers such as doctors, nurses, and healthcare workers.

The elections in these states will take place between March 27 and April 29 and the results will be announced on May 2. The Election Model Code of Conduct in these states and the UT came into being on February 26, the day the poll schedule was announced.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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On March 9, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to the EC informing that the directions of the commission will be complied with promptly.

“Thereafter, necessary filters in Co-WIN have been applied for the vaccination centres situated in the four states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Union Territory of Puducherry, as suggested by the Commission,” the letter said.
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