AstraZeneca row: AAP questions Centre over Covishield side effects

New Delhi, May 1 (UNI) Days after AstraZeneca admitted that its Covid-19 vaccine can cause rare “side effects” of blood clotting and low platelet count, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Health Minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Wednesday accused the Central government of promoting Covishield vaccine at a time when European countries banned it following adverse reports about the vaccine.

Addressing a press conference, Bhardwaj asserted, “At a time when most European countries had banned the Covishield vaccine, the Indian government was promoting it across the country and compelling people to get vaccinated with Covishield.”

Referring to a BBC report, Bhardwaj said, “In March 2021, BBC made a report public stating that in 2021, doubts arose about the quality of the Covishield vaccine in many European countries, leading several European countries to ban the use of Covishield in their countries including Germany, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Austria, among others.”

“From 2021 until now, the Centre has not provided any answer to this question, and even now, when the company making this vaccine, AstraZeneca, has admitted that people may experience complaints of brain stroke and heart attack due to getting this vaccine, the Indian government remains silent,” Bhardwaj alleged.

“We were hoping that after the acceptance by AstraZeneca, the Indian government would take some strict action, but two days have passed and no steps have been taken by the Indian government, so we were forced to hold this press conference,” he asserted.

He further questioned the government about what steps it taking in such a serious matter that concerns the lives of millions of people in this country.

“The Indian government will have to work at a war footing on this issue, talk to the AstraZeneca company, consult with doctors, and determine which tests should be conducted to find out what symptoms occur if someone is experiencing side effects of this vaccine and how their life can be saved,” Bhardwaj said.

“AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was marketed as Covishield in India and manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII),” he said adding that we have seen numerous videos on social media recently showing people collapsing and dying immediately after performing activities, which was not observed before the pandemic. Many people speculate a connection to the coronavirus vaccine and such reports are a matter of concern as they escalate tension.”

“Most of the people who died, they were young. The government should work on that how can we stop it if people are experiencing side-effects,” he added.

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