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Learn from Putin, all MLAs should get first vax shots: Goa oppn

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Panaji, Jan 27 (IANS) The political leadership in Goa should take lessons from global leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin and all 40 MLAs in the state should volunteer to get themselves vaccinated with Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ vaccine, doubts about whose efficacy continue to linger, Goa opposition MLAs said on Wednesday.

“Covid management has become a carnival (in Goa). If you vaccinate people with Covaxin and if it impacts people negatively, it will create a bigger problem,” former Deputy Chief Minister and Goa Forward MLA Vijai Sardesai said.

“If you have confidence in the vaccine, let the leaders get vaccinated first. Even Putin got it administered to himself first,” Sardesai said, adding that Goa ranked 23rd out of 29 states in terms of vaccine coverage, which he said, meant that people of Goa had no faith in ‘Covaxin’.

Sardesai was speaking during a congratulatory motion moved in the state Assembly to congratulate Prime Minister Narendra Modi for efficient handling of the Covid-19 crisis, as well as quick roll-out of the country’s vaccination programme.

The motion was moved by BJP MLA from Shiroda constituency Subhash Shirodkar, who said that at a time when countries around the world were exploring options for a second lockdown, India had already launched headlong into a vaccination drive. “Our indigenously developed vaccine will be administered not just in India, but also in neighbouring countries,” Shirodkar said.

“Except Pakistan, all our neighbours are using our vaccine (Covaxin). Even Brazil is using the vaccine,” Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho said.

Opposition MLA and former minister Rohan Khaunte however urged the government not to give people a sense of “false confidence” about Covaxin, which he said had not been put through the critical third stage trials.

“I request the CM to ensure that all 40 MLAs should take the vaccine first, only then people will get confidence to get themselves vaccinated,” Khaunte said, adding that MLAs were being asked as to why they were not one of the first lot to be vaccinated.

Summing up the discussions on the congratulatory motion, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant thanked the Prime Minister for imposing a quick lockdown, which Sawant said kept Covid-19 cases in the country to the minimum.

“We are sad that more than 700 have died (in Goa). But we have also managed to save more than 50,000. Suggestions are welcome but we need to stand together in this time of need,” Sawant said.

“The PM is being praised globally for his leadership,” he said.

–IANS

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