UK-based Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca recently admitted in a court that in “very rare cases”, its Covid-19 vaccine can cause low platelet count and a blood clot-related side effect – Thrombosis Thrombocytopenia Syndrome. Since the admission, discussions about this vaccine have been dominating headlines. In India, AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine was produced by the Serum Institute of India in Pune and was marketed under the name, ‘Covishield’. The Indian government made this vaccine available to citizens for free, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image was on the certificates for both the first and second doses.

After AstraZeneca’s admission in court, many social media users claimed that the government removed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image from the vaccine certificates after its side effects had been revealed.

Congress’ Professor Varsha Eknath Gaikwad shared one such vaccine certificate that did not feature Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image. While sharing it, she claimed that his image was removed from the vaccine certificate since AstraZeneca admitted that its vaccine could cause heart attacks.

Retired Indian Air Force fighter pilot Rajiv Tyagi also made a similar claim in a tweet.

Supreme Court senior advocate Prashant Bhushan also made a sarcastic jab at the prime minister while promoting the claim, calling it a wonder of Modi.

Fact Check

Alt News performed a keyword search using terms related to this issue, which led us to an article published on May 1 by ‘The Print‘. According to an officer of the health ministry cited in the report, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image had been removed from the COVID vaccine certificate as per the election Model Code of Conduct.

Another article covering this was found on on ‘The Hindu‘ website. It states that the Election Commission had instructed the Union health ministry to remove Prime Minister Modi’s image from COVID vaccine certificates before elections commenced in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry.

It is pertinent to add that the same was done during assembly elections in various states in 2022 as well. This January 9, 2022 report in the Deccan herald headlined “No photo of PM Modi on Covid vaccination certificates in 5 poll-bound states as MCC kicks in” states that “Covid vaccination certificates issued in the five poll-bound states (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa) will not have Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo since the model code of conduct has come into force there…”

To sum it up, several politicians have falsely claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image was removed from vaccine certificates after rare side effects of Covishield were revealed. However, in reality, the image was removed from the vaccine certificate to comply with the Model Code of Conduct in poll-bound states.

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About the Author

Abhishek is a senior fact-checking journalist and researcher at Alt News. He has a keen interest in information verification and technology. He is always eager to learn new skills, explore new OSINT tools and techniques. Prior to joining Alt News, he worked in the field of content development and analysis with a major focus on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).