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Health Ministry officials respond to removal of PM Narendra Modi's photo from CoWIN certificates

Health ministry officials cited adherence to the Model Code of Conduct as the reason for the removal of PM Modi's image from the vaccine certificate.

Written by  Annesha Barua -- May 02nd 2024 08:37 AM -- Updated: May 02nd 2024 08:44 AM
Health Ministry officials respond to removal of PM Narendra Modi's photo from CoWIN certificates

Health Ministry officials respond to removal of PM Narendra Modi's photo from CoWIN certificates

PTC News Desk: The CoWIN certificates for Covid-19 vaccinations have undergone a significant alteration initiated by the Union health ministry, with the removal of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image. Previously, these certificates prominently showcased Modi's photograph alongside a motivational quote asserting India's unified determination to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the retention of the quote – "Together, India will defeat COVID-19" – attributed to the prime minister, his name has been excluded from the certificates, as reported by The Hindu.

Recent discussions surrounding Covishield, a vaccine developed by AstraZeneca, have been reignited following the company's acknowledgment in a UK court regarding potential links between the vaccine and Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS), a rare side effect involving blood clotting. In light of this development, many individuals in India have scrutinized their vaccination certificates.

Several users on the microblogging platform X (formerly Twitter) noticed a notable change: the absence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's photograph on the Covid-19 vaccination certificates issued in India. X user Sandeep Manudhane remarked, "Modi ji no more visible on COVID Vaccine certificates. Just downloaded to check – yes, his pic is gone."

Echoing this sentiment, another user named Irfan Ali, who identified himself as a Congress functionary, corroborated, “Yes, I just checked and PM Modi’s photo has disappeared and there is only QR code instead of his photo.”

However, officials from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare clarified to ThePrint on Tuesday that the removal of the image was due to the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

This is not the first instance where Modi’s photograph has been removed from Covid vaccination certificates. In 2022, Modi's image was also excluded from vaccination certificates issued in five states: Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur, and Goa. This directive was issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in anticipation of the assembly elections in those states.

The inclusion of Modi's picture on vaccination certificates had previously sparked controversy in 2021, culminating in a legal dispute in the Kerala High Court. In response to arguments that certificates issued in other countries did not feature the photos of elected leaders, Justice PV Kunhikrishnan remarked, “They may not be proud of their PMs, we are proud of our PM.”

Gujarat Congress Calls for Compensation Over Covishield Deaths

The opposition Congress in Gujarat has accused the BJP-led central government of neglecting World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines concerning the Covishield vaccine.

They demand compensation for the families of individuals who reportedly died from heart attacks or similar causes post-Covishield inoculation. In response, doctors affiliated with the Gujarat BJP cited findings from a state expert panel indicating no direct correlation between Covid-19 vaccines and blood clot-related complications leading to heart attacks.

AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the Serum Institute of India (SII), manufactured the Covishield vaccine in India. Shaktisinh Gohil, President of the Gujarat Congress and Rajya Sabha member, questioned the absence of data collection despite WHO advisories.

- With inputs from agencies

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