Vaccination drives are going on all over the country to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Most cities and villages in India have started vaccination drives by both the public and private sectors. Government vaccination camps are more in number and are of particular interest to those who do not want or can not afford to pay a hefty price as charged in private companies. However, some Government officials have also resorted to providing fake vaccination for a greater income. Let us discuss in this article how and where this has happened.
Kolkata and Mumbai are two big cities where there are proven records of fake vaccination drives. Kolkata and Mumbai are the most densely populated cities in India, and also lie in the epicentre of Covid-19 spread in India. So fake vaccination drives in these cities are unlikely to prevent a third Covid-19 wave which may prove even more disastrous for the country than the previous waves.
In Mumbai, more than 2000 people have been given fake vaccines by several private players in different areas of the city. Till now 13 arrests have been made by the Mumbai police in connection with fake camps. Mahendra Pratap Singh and Manish Tripathi are said to be the main culprit in this scam. All fake vaccines are supplied from Shivam Hospital in Kandivali West, whose owners, Shivraj Pataria and Nita Pataria, have been arrested. Shivam Hospital reportedly received some Covishield doses from the BMC and some empty vials all of which were handed to the vaccine camp organizers, who have made fake vaccines out of it.
In Kolkata, an even greater scam was unearthed connected to one individual, Debanjan Das, and some TMC officials. Debanjan Das went beyond belief to raise his treasury with a fake IAS claim, fake joint commissioner of Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) identity, issuing fake tenders and running a fake Kolkata Urban Planning office. He earned crores of rupees in the name of KMC and from fake vaccines. The scam came to light when ruling TMC MP from the same area, Mimi Chakraborty, was invited by Deb to take vaccine shots. Mimi was alerted when she didn’t receive any SMS from Aragya Setu after getting vaccinated, and she launched a probe in this matter. Deb was found to supply Amikacin, a simple antibiotic for several bacterial infections in the vaccine shots. Deb managed to fake the vaccine bottles and their stickers, and also tricked several firms by forging signatures of many senior officials and ministers.
It is shocking, to say the least, how some scammers are playing with the lives of so many people. Fake vaccine recipients, if not identified at the earliest, may not be saved in case a third wave of Covid-19 arrives. While vaccination can provide immunity to most of the public, it may have a severe effect on people not vaccinated. As restrictions get eased, Covid-19 is most likely to turn up, affecting those not vaccinated. Fake vaccines will prove disastrous for such persons. It is highly recommended follow-up for a possible fake vaccination drive in your area, check whether you receive a message from the Government regarding vaccination, check your Aragya Setu app about current status and vaccination, do cross-check and verify the authorization of the centre or camp, and do not believe in rumours. Most camps and centres are providing real authorised vaccines, hence don’t be afraid to get vaccinated. Vaccination can save your life from future Covid-19 infection, hence do take the vaccine at the earliest from your nearest authorized vaccination centre.
Written by – Himadri Paul