In a bid to tackle the misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccination, the Central govt has asked state and union territory governments to take action against those spreading "ill-informed rumours" about coronavirus vaccines.
Centre said that states and UTs should use existing "provisions under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code" to take "counter the spread of all such kind of false information and disseminate factual messages" about COVID-19 vaccines.
Referring to "rumour-mongering", the Centre, in its letter which was written last week, said that such actions cause "unwarranted doubts" regarding the safety and effectiveness of the vaccines.
The Union Health Ministry had started COVID-19 vaccination drive across India from January 16, days after the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved two coronavirus vaccines viz Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' and Oxford-AstraZeneca's 'Covishield', for emergency use authorisation.
Following the approval from the DCGI, the Centre had urged people not to believe in rumours about COVID-19 vaccines, saying they approved only after thorough inspection about safety and efficacy.
Reacting to the rumours, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said that the "so-called side-effects are normal to any vaccination process", adding that Covaxin and Covishield are safe to use. "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 had said.