There were reports of many people, who did not get vaccinated, getting messages on their mobile phones that they have received their jabs. In some cases, vaccination registrations were done with similar identity documents
On June 21, when the new phase of the Covid vaccination drive began with free vaccines for all Indians above 18, Madhya Pradesh said it created a record of administering 1.7 million doses. But soon complaints emerged as many of those with their mobile numbers registered in Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were shown among the beneficiaries. There were reports of many people, who did not get vaccinated, getting messages on their mobile phones that they have received their jabs. In some cases, vaccination registrations were done with similar identity documents. There were also complaints of one person getting several messages confirming vaccinations. In Bhopal, a 13-year-old boy, who is not eligible for vaccination, was shown among those vaccinated as per a message sent on his father’s phone.
State health minister Prabhuram Chaudhary brushed aside the complaints citing “human errors”, which he said will be corrected. He added they have ordered an inquiry into how the 13-year-old was shown as vaccinated.
“We have not received any formal complaint, but we came to know about it from social media and activists. Most of the complaints are baseless and just errors of humans submitting details on the portal; nothing else,” he said.
Nuzhat Saleem, 45, a Bhopal resident, said she received a message about her first dose on June 21 on her late husband’s mobile number. “I was shown vaccinated on basis of widow pension document…(from) Bhopal Municipal Corporation,” she said. Saleem added her “provisional vaccination certificate” showed the pension document as her identity proof.
The mobile number of Naagraj M, a resident of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore, was used to register Bhopal’s Rekha Ahirwar. “I have never visited Madhya Pradesh and I do not know where Bhopal is. I received a message in English but I could not read it, so I deleted it. Now, I am getting calls from Madhya Pradesh that my inoculation is done,” he told HT through a translator. Naagraj M got a message about his vaccination registration in Bhopal on June 21.
Ram Dayal, 50, a resident of Latehar in Jharkhand, said he does not know how to read messages on his mobile. “My son told me I have received a message of vaccination from Madhya Pradesh. I am a farmer and have never gone out of Jharkhand.”
Multiple registrations of unrelated people on a single mobile number have also been reported. The Co-Win app allows up to four registrations through one mobile number.
Chainendra Pandey, 59, a resident of Satna in Madhya Pradesh, received three messages of vaccination on a single day of three people he did not know. “I am yet to receive my vaccine and I do not know how to register for vaccination,” he said. He said several people in Satna received multiple messages of vaccinations of more than one unknown person.
Arun Kocheta, a resident of Bairagarh town, received messages of having been vaccinated at different locations at the same time. “As per the messages on June 21, I got one vaccination in Bairagarh town and second in Satna (438 km away). How is it possible for me to be present at two places at the same time?”
Several people were registered using the same Aadhaar card. Of around 10,000 people from Bhopal, who were vaccinated on June 21, over 500 people were registered with the same last four digits of Aadhaar–9999, according to an official in the state health department, who did not want to be named. Kocheta was also shown registered for the second time on the Co-WIN portal with Aadhaar number showing 9999 as the last four digits.
Congress leader Ajay Yadav said the irregularities have been reported from Bhopal and several other towns. “Madhya Pradesh has 52 districts, and we can imagine the level of fraud. The state government should release the list of all vaccinated people for transparency. Otherwise, like record plantation drive…in 2018, this will also prove to be a fake publicity stunt,” said Yadav.
Amulya Nidhi, convener, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, an NGO, said a few days ago, one vaccine dose was shown to have been given to more than two people. “Now, there are allegations of fake registration and vaccinations on June 21. There should be a thorough inquiry.”
Chaudhary dismissed the allegations as politically motivated. “When such a massive exercise is conducted, mistakes can happen. …Your vaccination is fool proof.”