An employee of one of the biggest Municipality Hospital of Mumbai told Afternoon Voice under the condition of anonymity, “Looking at the rumours and reports of the side effects of the COVID vaccination many people avoid getting injected but at the same time they want a certificate to enter various places. They pay a handsome amount to the hospital employee; the employee genuinely books their appointment for an available slot. The person receives a genuine message, the catch here is the said person arrives for vaccination but without getting injected completes the formality and gets a certificate. Scan a barcode or do whatever the certificate is not fake so its official pass for travelling across.”
Check Point Research (CPR) report says the demand for fake test results and COVID-19 vaccine certificates in the black market has increased because of those who do not wish to be vaccinated. The study found that the fake vaccine market has expanded to 29 countries all over the world.
Recently the Maharashtra health department wrote a letter to the central government demanding the cancellation of certificates issued to victims of the Mumbai vaccination scam. In its letter, the Maharashtra government’s health department has asked the Centre to cancel CoWIN certificates of all people who received jabs during the fake vaccination drive that took place in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
India’s record of over 2.5 crore Covid vaccinations on September 17, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s birthday, several people who had not received their Covid shots somehow seem to have been issued vaccination certificates. Once data is deleted from the CoWIN site, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will then get all the victims vaccinated, said the Maharashtra government health department official.
Mukund Thale, a government-run Hospital employee said “In the first place no prime minister has celebrated his birthday with so much fanfare by getting attention with gifts by state governments that too making vaccination random, it’s sad that the lack of proper planning and right administration has failed to result in fudging of vaccine certificate on records just to please one person. Some dead people also received Vaccination certificates months after their death.”
Check Point Research (CPR) experts claim there were nearly 1,000 vendors of fake vaccine certificates as of August 10 on Telegram. Earlier these fake Covid certificates were available on Telegram for USD 85. However, now by paying a few thousand you can acquire it from hospitals.
Dr Deepak Sawant said, “Fake vaccination or fake certification should be considered as a serious crime because you are playing not only with your society but with your own family you can be super spreader so there should be strict vigilance on this.”
“There should close watch on airports, people travelling by Domestic and international flights, there must be a use of artificial intelligence to keep vigilance government is preparing smart card but there is a lot of mistake in the registration of vaccination dates one should allow single vaccination to get entry,” Dr Sawant further added.
Dr Vishal Sawant, a Psychiatrist in Mumbai, said “Would be difficult to do a health census. Will have some people more vulnerable and thus people in contact with them who might be compromised health-wise. They could decide whether they want vaccination though and then they travel with the testing done regularly. As some of their decisions have an effect on the community as a whole.”
Dr Deepak Chaturvedi, “Any strict law (rule) brings opportunities to notorious brains. The same is happening with the rule of Compulsory Vaccination Certificate for a Travel pass. This has indeed opened up a black (Gray) market for the Fake vaccination certificate racket. This is going to harm as a double-edged sword. Think about somebody who is COVID positive and doesn’t get his/her RT-PCR test because of the possession of the fake vaccination certificate. Now this person when travels unrestricted due to the possession of a travel pass, will spread the infections to distant places. Similarly, somebody who is in possession of a fake vaccination certificate (and travel pass), when comes in contact with an infected passenger will also have a high chance of getting the infection. The probability of these two situations is very high and keeps on rising exponentially. The biggest matters of concern in this situation are the avoidant nature of the people, negligent nature of the government and mischievous brains of the conmen around. If any rule is made then it becomes the duty of the citizens to follow the rule and the responsibility of the government to get the rule implemented and executed. Provision for strict punishment should be there for the offenders including the people in possession of fake vaccination certificates and the people engaged in the business of issuing fake vaccination certificates. To prevent the pandemic to explode again as the third wave we all need to be consciously awaken.”
Dr Varun Dixit says, “Wrongly issued certificates due to technical error is pardonable and rectifiable. The data can be cross-checked and the concerned person can be informed. On the other hand, “Fake-genuine” certificates being issued to people without vaccination is not only foolish and short-sighted on behalf of the person obtaining it but also a serious dent in the global effort to counter the Covid pandemic. Not wanting to get vaccinated may be a choice that some people may like to exercise but that leaves them as a potentially vulnerable portion of society which will lead to the spreading of the virus as well as the development of variants of the virus which would, in turn, infect larger portions of the population. These “resourceful cheaters” would be the cause for not only the much dreaded third wave but also for avoidable 4th, 5th and subsequent waves.”
Dr Dixit further said, “The overall credibility of the national vaccination drive and the vaccination certificates issued thereof will take a huge hit. It is an impossible task for the government to “police” every person getting the vaccine. It is the responsibility of each and every citizen of the country, to be honest to themselves and their brethren. It is a problem of both demand and supply… Both parties must be penalised and punished.”
“There may be some incidences here and there. No system is perfect. Corruption can bring a bad name to the vaccination programme. It’s up to society to co-operate with the government Both the public and the vaccination workers must be made aware that vaccination is the most potent tool against COVID 19. I can understand hesitancy in the initial days of the vaccination programme, but data of about 100 crore shots speak that vaccination is safe and there is no need to worry. An awareness campaign should continue to be run and efforts should be made to catch the culprits by identifying it on CCTV,” Dr Anshuman Manaswi.
One way of staying safe from coronavirus is to get vaccinated and governments have been urging citizens to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Several medical centres are now coming up with vaccine certificates to monitor who has been vaccinated, and who still needs to get a shot. However, the infamous black market seems to have found its grip on that too now.
As more and more countries are adopting vaccine certificates, the black market for fake vaccine certificates has increased ten times in the past few months.