Bhopal: As the Indian government struggles to earn the trust of people on indigenous Covid-19 vaccines, data duplication and errors are emerging to be the next big obstacle. Anita, Ankita, Antia Bai Chhajlani, Ashok, Avinash, Sankar Singh, Banwar Lal, Rajesh Pramar, and Pinka Bai of Madhya Pradesh’s Agar district, who are Front Line Workers (FLWs) of the state’s Revenue and Urban Development and Housing Department, have the same mobile number in their entries for the Covid-19 Immunisation drive that begun from January 16, as per the National Health Mission Madhya Pradesh (NHMMP) report.
It is not just these people; the mobile numbers of 1,37,454 FLWs and Health Care Workers (HCW), who took the Covaxin shot, are the same in Madhya Pradesh, reveals the 23-page NHMMP report 'COVID-19 Vaccination in Madhya Pradesh' was prepared on the coWIN App data till February 3.
Not just mobile numbers, the pin code of 9,280 beneficiaries are also mismatched, according to the report.
The report reveals that out of 7,10,888 FLWs and HCWs, who have been given Covaxin shot till February 3, in the State, mobile numbers of 19 % of them are the same. The highest cases of mobile number manipulation reported from four big cities of the State. Indore topped in data manipulation with 17,644 cases, followed by Jabalpur with 11,703, Bhopal 8,349 and Gwalior with 7,786 same mobile numbers.
Out of 1,37,454 cases, highest cases of same phone numbers are of Health Department’s HCWs with 83,598, followed by 39, 422 of Urban Development and Housing Department, 6,977 of Revenue, 7,338 of Home Department and 119 benefices of Panchayati Raj of the State.
Newsclick tried to talk to the persons whose mobile numbers were mentioned in the report as examples to highlight the flaws in immunisation drive to know the reality behind the duplication of mobile numbers.
Speaking over the phone, one of the respondents said that he is an employee of Agar Municipal Corporation and was a sanitation officer when the vaccination drive started. "Since I was the sanitation officer and most sanitation workers don't have mobiles and it was mandatory for taking the shot, hence, I put my own number."
He claimed that he had put his own mobile number for 40-odd sanitation workers.
Some phone numbers in the report were unreachable while some did not respond to the calls.
However, as per the Union government's guideline on the Covid-19 immunization drive, linking of Aadhaar with the beneficiaries’ current mobile number is mandatory for getting the vaccine. But, the NHMMP reports reveal otherwise.
The duplication of mobile numbers has raised questions on the immunization drive as lakhs of the beneficiaries missed the second shot of Covaxin in the State.
Raising questions over the drive, Amulya Nidhi of Jan Swasth Abhiyan, Madhya Pradesh, said, "The report highlights the flaws in the vaccination drive. How does the Health Department monitor the condition of those who took the Covaxin shot if the phone number is wrong or fake? How would they get the health updates and information about the second vaccination date?" he asked.
Owing to the wrong mobile numbers, lakhs of people may have missed the second Covaxin shot and the NHMMP reports also suggests the same. As per the report in 26 districts of the state, less than 36 % FLWs and HCWs were vaccinated and the State average vaccination is pegged to 36 % in the report by February 11.
Cities like Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Sagar, Ujjain, Rewa, Satna, Guna have reported less than 31 % vaccination. "Vaccination drive has recorded a drastic decline in MP," said a senior official of MP Health Department requesting anonymity. "In Bhopal, on February 16-17, only 12 % people have got vaccinated," he added.
Besides, the pin code of 9,280 beneficiaries are also mismatched, as per the report. The highest mismatched found in the Datia district where pin code of 4,523 beneficiaries are mismatched. "Datia’s 4, 523 beneficiaries are spread across 40+ Districts," says the report.
When contacted, Santosh Shukla, State Covaxin Immunization Drive Filed in-charge refused to make any comment over the issue.
Additional Chief Secretary at MP Health Department, Mohammad Suleman did not respond to the calls despite repeated attempts.
Health Minister of the State, Prabhu Ram Choudhary could not be contacted.