The Centre on Monday wrote to the Delhi government, pointing to irregularities in the identification of COVID-19 vaccination beneficiaries, below the age of 45 years, by some private vaccination centres.
In the letter to the Principal Secretary (Health), Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD), it has been pointed out by the central government that there have been serious lapses in the registration of beneficiaries by the VIMHANS (Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro and Allied Sciences) located at Nehru Nagar area in the North-East District of Delhi, operating as a private COVID vaccination centre. VIMHANS has been found to register beneficiaries below the age of 45 years as Health Care Workers (HCWs) & Front Line Workers (FLWs) and vaccinate them.
A release from the health ministry said, “As per provisions of the ongoing COVID-I9 vaccination drive, citizens above 45 years of age (from 1st April 2021) are being vaccinated along with Health Care Workers (HCWs) and Front Line Workers (FLWs) above 18 years of age as per the recommendations of NEGVAC. CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) sample data (l9th March-3rd April 2021) of vaccinated beneficiaries from this private CVC verified by the health ministry, revealed that many beneficiaries lie outside the ambit of the eligible beneficiaries (not under the identified priority populations groups), in violation of the guidelines laid down by the union health ministry.”
Noting that vaccines are a “precious commodity”, the Centre said these serious lapses at the VIMHANS CVC in terms of compliance of the COVID- 19 vaccination guidelines harm the countrywide vaccination exercise as eligible beneficiaries may get deprived of vaccination.
The Delhi administration has been asked to immediately issue a show-cause notice to VIMHANS regarding such wrong practices which violate COVID-19 vaccination norms and seek a written explanation from them within the next 48 hours. The appropriate monetary fine may also be imposed on the hospital.
Further, it has been suggested that the department of the hospital may be approached if the explanation to the show cause notice is found “unsatisfactory”.
In another case, the Delhi government, in pursuance of the advice from the health ministry, has issued a show-cause notice to Bensups Hospital, Sector-12 Dwarka, Delhi for violation of the guidelines issued by the Centre on the eligible groups of the population for receiving COVID vaccination, where persons below the age of 45 years have been wrongly registered as health care workers and frontline workers.
India had started COVID-19 vaccination drive was rolled out on January 16 with two vaccines — Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).
India commenced its second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus from March 1.
The third phase began on April 1 for all above 45 years of age.