Centre Defends PM’s Photo On Vaccination Certificate; Calls It An “Awareness Message”.

The government on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha that the Prime Minister’s Photo on the vaccination certificate is nothing but an “awareness message.” The Junior Health Minister, Bharati Pravin Pawar was asked by Congress leader Kumar Ketkar whether the publication of PM Modi’s picture was mandatory or at all necessary. To which she submitted a written statement stating that PM Modi’s picture on the certificate reinforces the message of following covid protocols even after vaccination. She called it a "moral and ethical responsibility" of the government to ensure that the awareness message must reach the people and remain effective.

“The photograph along with the message of the Prime Minister in the vaccination certificates reinforces the message for creating awareness about the importance of following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour even after vaccination, in the larger public interest," Ms Pawar wrote in her reply. Along with the absurd reasoning, she further stated that the format of the certificate was made keeping in view the norms of WHO which demands inclusion of directions of restricted behaviour even after vaccination. She denied any knowledge of the motive behind as was alleged by the opposition during the general assembly elections earlier this year.

PM’s picture on vaccination certificates had received much criticism. The opposition had alleged the BJP of printing PM’s picture on the certificate as a publicity stunt for self-promotion amid elections. Opposition-ruled states like Punjab, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh even went to the extent of removing the photo from the certificates issued in their states. Back then the states were responsible for the vaccination. Thus, the opposition had also claimed that BJP and Centre were trying to take the credit for vaccination by printing PM’s picture. However, now, the centre is responsible for the circulation of vaccines and the state is looking after the administration.