Fake Vaccination Messages: Is this how we achieved 100 crore jabs milestone?

According to the government’s CoWin website, as of October 21, 70 crore people have been administered the first dose, while 29 crores have received both doses.

By Nimisha S Pradeep  Published on  11 Nov 2021 7:24 AM GMT
Fake Vaccination Messages: Is this how we achieved 100 crore jabs milestone?

On November 5, Akhil Ennamsetty received a shocking message on his mobile phone. It reads, "Dear Bodapati Krishna Rao, You have successfully been vaccinated with your 2nd dose with Covishield on 5th November at 10:18 am. You may download your vaccination certificate from –https://cowin.gov.in-CoWIN."

Bodapati Krishna Rao is Akhil's maternal grandfather who died in May this year due to old age.

Akhil went further to download his deceased grandfather's vaccination certificate. "And what was more surprising was that the certificate mentioned even the exact time of the vaccination," says Akhil.

Akhil clearly knew that his grandfather had taken the first dose of Covishield two or three months before he died and that his second dose was pending. "I used to get warning messages from Cowin reminding me that the due date has been over for the second dose. That's when I received this random message," says Akhil.

In another incident, Pranita Jonnalagedda received a message from Cowin saying that she has successfully been vaccinated for a second dose. "But in reality, I am yet to get it," says Pranita.

Pranita was supposed to get her second dose between October 15 and November 12. But because of Diwali, she decided to take the vaccine post-Diwali.

On November 3, Pranita received an OTP from CoWin on her phone. "Within an hour, I got the confirmation message congratulating me for getting the second dose of vaccine," says Pranita.

When she checked her CoWin account, her profile showed that she has been fully vaccinated. "What's hilarious is that I now have a vaccination certificate for the second dose even though I have not been vaccinated," laughs Pranita.

She tried to call 1085 and file a complaint but there was no response. Also, she points out that the app itself offers no option to give complaints in case any.

On a serious note, now Pranita is caught in a bigger problem. "I cannot book a slot through my CoWin account as it already shows that I have been vaccinated. Now I have to go to some hospitals and check if slots are available," she adds.

Kalyani Sharma, another Twitter user also took to Twitter to share her experience. On 11th November 2021, she wrote, "Got my 2nd dose vaccination on 8th April and the certificate is in place in the same day. However, today, I received an SMS that I am vaccinated today and that I can download my certificate. What is happening with our data and details?"

When the issue was raised on Twitter, people shared other difficulties related to misuse of phone numbers and non-OTP authentication due to which a person's mobile number can be used by anybody else without any kind of authentication.

In some cases, people are not getting their vaccination status updated. Krishna, a Twitter user said, "I got vaccinated for both doses but my account has been updated only with the first dose. It has been four months since I got my second dose.

One of the Twitter users also brought in the issue of how dead people are being recorded as voted in elections. He wrote, "When the dead can vote, why not vaccination?"

"There should be some mechanism to investigate into the cause of the delay in getting vaccinated," suggests Akhil. "The authorities must call up and find out why people are reluctant to take the vaccine. Only such efforts will benefit the research," adds Akhil.

On October 21, 2021, the Modi government celebrated the 100 crore vaccination doses milestone in the country. According to the government's CoWin website, as of October 21, 70 crore people have been administered the first dose, while 29 crores have received both doses.

However, with fake vaccination messages, people are becoming skeptical about the numbers. Many such cases came into the limelight recently.

Meanwhile, 96 countries have agreed for mutual recognition of Covid-19 vaccination certificates with India, informed Union Minister for Health, Mansukh Mandaviya in a statement.

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