Remove PM’s photo from vaccine certificate, EC tells Health Ministry

The Election Commission has asked the Health Ministry to come up with a way in the next few days to ensure that COVID-19 vaccine recipients in the poll-bound States and Union Territory don’t get certificates with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s photo on it till the Model Code (MCC) is in force, sources said on Saturday.

As part of the drive, those who receive the vaccine can download a certificate from the centralised CoWIN portal and app. The certificate carries the photo which, according to sources, goes against the EC’s standing instructions on use of images of living political functionaries in government advertisements during elections.

A senior EC official said the Ministry was asked to follow the MCC in letter and spirit. The EC asked the Ministry to come up with a technical solution to remove the photo in the next couple of days. Elections to the Assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were announced on February 26, while the vaccination drive began in January.

Asked for comment, a Health Ministry official said: “We will peruse the instructions of the ECI and then comply with its directions.”

The Trinamool Congress had taken up the issue with the EC on March 2, demanding removal of the photo.

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