Rural officers made some people wear the signs saying “do not come near me, I am not vaccinated. Please stay away from me”. Those who were vaccinated were given a sign with the colours of the Indian flag that read “I am a patriot as I am vaccinated”.
Police in the Niwari district of Madhya Pradesh say that they have introduced the policy to encourage more vaccinations, despite a vaccine shortage in India which is preventing many people getting their jab.
Police officer, Santosh Patel, told Reuters: “Watching the low vaccination rate in our district we decided to honour the people who got vaccinated, but then we also found a large number of people who were not vaccinated.
“So, to teach them a lesson and encourage them to get vaccinated, we administrated an oath to get them inoculated as soon as possible.”
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A video shared by Asian News International shows police carrying out random checks on the roads and asking people whether they had been vaccinated to determine which sign would be pinned to their chest.
Some people on social media praised the move calling it a “very good initiative” and a “great idea”.
However, others said the policy was “vaccine shaming” and “unacceptable” in light of India’s vaccine shortage.
One man said: “Giving badges for vaccinated people is good to encourage vaccination. But this poster of stay away from me is wrong. [The government] has given target of December 21 to vaccinate 70 percent only. This thing in vaccination shortage period is not acceptable.”
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Another said: “There is no point shaming those who have not got vaccinated without knowing the circumstances.”
A third added: “Vaccine shaming should not be allowed.” And a fourth replied: “This is just wrong on so many levels.”
Two vaccines are currently produced in India, Covishield and Covaxin, but so far the country has only administered 239 million vaccines for its 1.39 billion population.
According to Our World in Data, just 3.3 percent of the Indian population are fully vaccinated and just 11 percent are partially vaccinated against Covid.
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