A Lok Sabha MP on Wednesday asked the government not to waste Rs 35,000 crore on the vaccination drive and instead use the money in improving the health infrastructure in the country. Participating in a discussion on demands for grants of the Health Ministry, YSRCP member Sanjeev Kumar Singari argued that vaccination is a waste of money as universal vaccination is neither possible nor warranted.
“Now the government is proposing to spend Rs 35,000 on COVID-19 vaccination, this is a waste of money in my view. COVID-19 vaccine saves us only for 6-9 months after that Rs 35,000 crore will be evaporated,” Singari said. He also noted that crises like COVID-19 occur once in 100 years, so the government should not give much importance to the coronavirus pandemic. He said 60 per cent seropositivity is considered immunity and many cities like Hyderabad have already recorded 54 per cent of seropositivity rate.
The Central government has often warned against spreading rumours against coronavirus vaccines, an important tool against fighting the pandemic. So while Singari’s statements may court a controversy, this is not the first time a leader has made a weird statement about Covid-19 or the vaccine shots. Here are some instances:
‘Won’t Take BJP’s Vaccine’: Akhilesh Yadav
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav made heads turn in January after he said he will not take the jab because he cannot trust the “BJP’s vaccine”. He was met with criticism over politicising the vaccination drive.
‘No Good Intentions’: Tanzania President
Not just limited to India, leaders around the world have criticised the vaccine shots. The World Health Organisation in February issued a statement to reinforce nations’ trust on the jabs, after Tanzanian president Magufuli said the approved vaccines are “dangerous” and that “not all vaccines are of good intentions to our nation.”
Halal Vaccine Concerns in Indonesia
Indonesian officials last year and in 2021 have often cited concerns with Covid-19 vaccines made with pork gelatin, and if they were permissible to use under Islamic law.
Reuters reported in January that the nation’s highest Muslim clerical council had hoped to issue a ruling on whether a COVID-19 vaccine is halal, or permissible under Islam, before the country starting a mass inoculation programme using a Chinese vaccine next week.
When a BJP Leader Who Threated to Hug Mamata if Got Covid, Tested Positive
BJP leader Anupam Hazra, who had threatened to hug West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee if he got infected with COVID-19, tested positive for the disease in October. Hazra, was appointed as a national secretary of the saffron party, was admitted to a private hospital in Kolkata.
Vaccine Can Cause Impotency: SP Leader
Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Ashutosh Sinha in January had claimed that people fear that COVID-19 vaccine can make them impotent. Sinha also backed party chief Akhilesh Yadav after the latter had said that he would not get vaccinated against COVID-19. “If honourable Akhilesh Yadav has said this, then there will be something serious. We do not believe in the machinery of the government. He has said this based on facts. If he is not vaccinating himself, then I think COVID-19 vaccine might contain something, which can cause harm. Tomorrow, people will say the vaccine was given to kill/decrease the population. You can even become impotent, anything can happen,” Sinha, SP Mirzapur MLC told ANI.
Vaccine Can Turn People into Crocodiles: Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had in December last year launched an attack on coronavirus vaccines, even suggesting that the one developed by Pfizer-BioNTech could turn people into crocodiles or bearded ladies.
The far-right leader has been sceptical of the coronavirus since it first emerged late last year, branding it "a little flu." He had insisted he would not be vaccinated, even while launching the country's mass inoculation program.
"In the Pfizer contract it's very clear: 'we're not responsible for any side effects.' If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem," Bolsonaro had said.
When Church Leader Who Blamed Covid on Gay Marriage, Tested Positive
In September last year, a 91-year-old religious leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church- Kyiv Patriarchate who blamed gay marriage for COVID-19 pandemic tested positive for coronavirus. He had claimed that coronavirus is ‘God’s punishment’ for the sins committed by humans like same-sex marriage during his interview with a local TV channel. The LGBTQ community had filed a lawsuit against Filaret for his statement.