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Covid vaccination dry run in UP: Dummy vaccine boxes brought on cycle, staffer issued notice

According to videos that have gone viral on social media, an employee brought the boxes to the District Women Hospital on a bicycle, escorted by the police.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow | January 6, 2021 3:48:39 am
Covid-19 vaccination dry run being conducted in Lucknow on Tuesday. (Express photo by Vishal Srivastav)

Dummy boxes used during Tuesday’s Covid vaccination dry run were brought to a hospital in Varanasi district on a bicycle. The dry run was organised across the state just days before the first phase of the actual inoculation process is expected to begin.

According to videos that have gone viral on social media, an employee brought the boxes to the District Women Hospital on a bicycle, escorted by the police. The district health authorities, however, said a set of dummy vaccines had already reached the hospital by then, and the cycle episode was the result of a misunderstanding.

“We are sending a denial of the said incident and the vaccine was not going to the hospital. As per our information, the dummy vaccines had already reached the hospital from the storage and the boxes on a bicycle were sent in confusion even though one set of dummy vaccines had already reached the concerned hospital,” said Varanasi Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr VB Singh.

In a statement, District Magistrate Kaushal Raj Sharma said, “Today, the dry run did not include actual vaccines but just empty boxes. The boxes that reached the Women Hospital did not have vaccines. The hospital itself has a storage point and the vaccine boxes did not need to be brought from Chauka Ghat [the storage point] and that is why no van was planned for the same. The staff at Chauka Ghat sent the boxes on a bicycle in confusion as no van was there. The employee has been sent a clarification notice. Only based on the dry run feedback we will conduct the actual vaccination rounds.”

Dr Singh said after the incident came to light the dummy boxes were immediately sent back to the Community Health Centre in Chauka Ghat, and the cold-chain handlers there had been asked to explain why the boxes were sent on a bicycle.

The hospital had uploaded the details of 25 people who were supposed to receive the “vaccine” on a dummy portal.

Earlier in the day, nodal officer Dr AK Pandey said there was no need to bring the vaccines to the medical facility on a cycle as the District Women Hospital itself had a cold-chain point. “If there has been any incident of dummy vaccines coming on a bicycle then I do not know about that. If any such incident has happened, then it must be in confusion,” he added.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath visited the RML Hospital in Lucknow to oversee the vaccination exercise.

On January 2, following the first phase of the dry run, he had said that the actual vaccination process would begin around “Makar Sankranti”.

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