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Health Ministry admits to problem of wrong vaccination certificates, but says little else

Before irregularities in certificates, the government struggled with ghost registrations on India’s national portal for vaccines.

There have been ‘occasional isolated cases’ where vaccination certificates have been issued to those deceased, or those not vaccinated at that time, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare acknowledged in the Lok Sabha on December 10. “These cases are due to inadvertent data entry errors by vaccinator in updation of vaccination data of second dose of beneficiaries,” Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar, MoS for MoHFW, added.

Pawar was responding to a parliamentary question by Trinamool Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee on whether the ministry was aware of vaccination certificates being issued incorrectly, in some cases to the deceased, and what it was doing to rectify the issue.

Ghost vaccination certificates have been a longstanding issue with reported instances of Indians receiving certificates when they haven’t gotten vaccinated. Earlier, in response to concerns around ghost/incorrect registrations on the CoWIN portal, National Health Authority (NHA) CEO RS Sharma said that the ministry was taking steps to prevent such incidents; but it appears that the problem has continued.

What is the ministry doing about it?

In his question, Banerjee asked about:

  • The government’s awareness of such certificates.
  • Whether these were included in the number of total vaccinations done.
  •  Steps taken to rectify the same.

The ministry did not answer the second question while on the third, it only said that “MoHFW has also advised States/UTs on multiple occasions to ensure correctness of data entry.”

Meanwhile, the director of the Indian Council of Medical Research Balram Bhargava said that these are ‘anecdotal incidents’ and reports of them do not have major mettle, Deccan Herald reported.

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Failed action on Ghost CoWIN registrations?

Earlier, Sharma had said that the problem of ghost registrations was reported in the first version of CoWIN where data for health workers were collected through excel sheets. “Registration of multiple beneficiaries with one number was done — like ASHA workers who don’t have mobile number will utilise mobile number of ANM or medical officer for registration,” Sharma had told MediaNama in response to questions. He had also said that they were putting in place a grievance redressal mechanism to solve such issues in the future and asking states and union territories to train staff and make them aware of the importance of correct data entry. However, it seems the problem has only moved to ghost vaccination certificates, from ghost registrations.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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