India: Multiple Instances of Fake Vaccine Drives Leaves Citizens in Dismay
India is aiming to vaccinate all citizens by December 2021. Although very optimistic and ambitious, the idea seems like a distant dream because of the frequent hiccups faced by the authorities to carry out and implement the policy effectively. While the main reason for such a slow-paced vaccination drive is high demand and low supply, a new trend of fake vaccination drives seems like a whole new problem that the Indian government has to deal with.
Unlike the common assumption that fake vaccination is more prevalent for ones who are trying to procure them from the black market, these drives are taking place in broad daylight and aren’t restricted to a small group of people.
In Mumbai's upscale Hiranandani Heritage Society, a fake vaccination drive was held which was one of the first cases that threw open the lid on this scam. The organizers used the wrong date, time and roped in various staff who had access to the login ID on Co-WIN (Official Website). This led to multiple hospital names on the certificate on beneficiaries of the same society. Upon investigation, the authorities concluded that 2,053 society members were injected with saline water rather than a vaccine.
‘None of the residents have experienced any adverse effect however, we can’t rule out the possibility of any long term side effects’ - Resident Vaccinated with Fake Jab
This not only puts the citizens at high risk, but also undermines the fight against COVID-19. Another major vaccination racket was busted in Kolkata where a 28-year-old posed as a civil servant and inoculated almost 2,000 people, including a ruling lawmaker from the state. Many who got vaccinated only got suspicious after they weren’t able to find their certificate on the official online portal. Privilege is also at play as many don’t have access to a smartphone, computer, or even the internet to cross-check if they were registered in the Co-WIN database or not.
Given the long waiting period, many patients vocalizing their eagerness of citizens to get vaccinated. This results in housing societies, organizations, and even individuals cross-checking the authenticity with the authorities. The rising number of fake vaccination drives needs to be prevented and a crackdown on the centers and those running the syndicate needs to be the top priority to curb vaccine hesitancy.
Written By: Vaibhav Singh
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