Gujarat govt to invoke Epidemic Diseases Act against anti-vaccine rumour mongers

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Friday said it will take action against people spreading rumours and fake information against coronavirus vaccines under the Epidemic Diseases Act.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said people in some parts of the state were not turning up for inoculation because of superstitions, misconceptions and rumours that are being spread against the vaccine.

Speaking to reporters in Gandhinagar, the deputy chief minister said “People are falling prey to superstitions, rumours and misconceptions.

People are told that vaccine is not necessary if they follow certain rituals. This is why people in some parts of the state are not turning up for inoculation.”

People found guilty of spreading rumours and false information against vaccines will face strict action under the Epidemic Diseases Act, said Patel, who handles the health portfolio.

The government has roped in MLAs, party workers, religious leaders, local authorities and NGOs to spread awareness about the benefits of vaccines and eliminate superstitions.

As per the government data, over 1.76 crore people have been vaccinated so far in the state.

Earlier on Thursday, Rajkot district collector Remya Mohan had raised the same issue claiming that despite the availability of vaccines, the response to the vaccination drive in the district, especially in rural areas, has remained low due to misconceptions and superstitions.

As against the available doses, less than half the number of eligible persons were coming to get the jabs, she had said.

WhatsApp messages warning people against vaccination are also responsible for the lukewarm response in rural pockets, particularly from people above the age of 45, the collector said.