/EC to Centre, Health News, ET HealthWorld
Remove PM pic from vax certificates: EC to Centre

EC to Centre, Health News, ET HealthWorld

New Delhi/Kolkata: The Election Commission has asked the Union health ministry to exclude the image of PM Narendra Modi from the Covid-19 vaccination certificates being issued to recipients in poll-bound Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

The Trinamool Congress had complained to the EC on March 2 against the use of Modi’s face on the certificates ahead of elections in Bengal.

The EC cited a 2004 instruction, barring political functionaries from “using public resources to enhance their personal image”, while writing to the health ministry on Thursday. The ministry may find a technical solution to the issue by “using appropriate filters” in the poll-bound states, the EC said.

Trinamool Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien wrote to the EC on March 2, complaining that the use of the PM’s image on vaccination certificates was a violation of the model code of conduct. It was also “misuse of taxpayers’ money for publicity ahead of elections”, he had said, adding: “Credit should be given to healthcare staff.”

Several hospitals in Kolkata reported not being able to download the vaccination certificates to be given to recipients on Friday and Saturday. Hospitals have, therefore, started giving out chits to vaccine recipients as confirmation of the completion of the process.

Recipients used to get a systems-generated SMS after the second shot, which gave them a link from where they could download vaccination certificates. But, since Friday, recipients have reported lack of any response when the link is clicked.

“So we have started issuing recipients a stamped chit, mentioning the date and time and venue,” an SSKM Hospital official said on Saturday. Private-sector hospitals, too, said they had started following the same procedure after complaints from vaccine recipients.

The Trinamool said on Saturday that it was monitoring recipients’ complaints and hospitals’ responses. “We welcome this if it has happened because of any EC directive,” Trinamool RS MP Santanu Sen said. “But we have not got any official response so far,” he said on Saturday evening.

“The misuse of public money for self-promotion is nothing new. We saw the same thing happening for Ayushman Bharat too,” Sen added.