It has been discovered via social media and other sources that people from various backgrounds have been receiving Covid vaccine jabs out of turn while government of Pakistan has permitted only a fraction of people (people aged above 60) to be inoculated. Disregarding government’s mandate had no repercussions so far which is about to change.
It has been believed that use of vaccine out of turn has prevailed for long and now people have exposed themselves by sharing pictures and videos of inoculation on social media.
Spokesperson for the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) Sajid Shah said the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) was looking into it and would take strict action if anyone was found involved. However, he said not a single complaint had been lodged in this regard in the capital.
A number of people including media persons, who were not entitled, have got jabs of Covid-19. The first controversy emerged when the daughter of a prominent personality allegedly vaccinated a person in Sindh, prompting the provincial government to launch an inquiry.
An official of the NHS ministry, requesting not to be quoted, said different ways were being used to vaccinate people who were less than 50 years of age.
“Though messages are generated from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), Nadra cannot be involved in it as a message is generated only after verifying the age and permanent address of the person,” he said.
“The violation is being done at hospitals and in charges of vaccination centers are vaccinating people at their own risk. It can be done for monetary benefits or due to personal contacts. As vaccine audit is not being done, in charges vaccinate unregistered people and maintain the record manually. The record will be updated once their turn will come,” he said.
“Hospitals have web portals of their staff. Though it is difficult to misuse the names of doctors, ineligible people can be vaccinated against names of paramedics and other staff as a number of them don’t believe in vaccination. The district health officers can also do that as they deal with the vaccine. Moreover, it can also be done at the level of NCOC and the National Institute of Health (NIH),” he said.
“Moreover, a term ‘wastage due to unforeseen reason’ is also used for out-of-turn vaccination. It is said the vaccine has been spoiled due to different reasons such as temperature could not be maintained due to electricity issue or out of order refrigerator, or beaker of vaccine was broken or injection was dropped,” he said.
“In other words, it is shown in documents that the vaccine has been spoiled. But in fact, the vaccine is administered to someone. It can never be leaked as both staff and people try to hide it. However, the trend of having selfie, video, and picture of every moment has exposed it,” he said.
Joint Executive Director Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (Pims) Dr Minhajus Siraj told Dawn that it was impossible to do out of turn vaccination at hospitals as they verify the message generated by Nadra.
“A fake code cannot be generated from Nadra and that is why we reconfirm the code before administering jabs,” he said.