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Shortages of coronavirus vaccine promote Black market

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As the daily COVID-19 cases are perceiving a massive outpouring in the state, people are lining up at all places where Remdesivir injections are provided. Expert doctors and the state government have warned against the unnecessary use of this injection stating that it can damage vital organs. But people panic and there is no counselling from government agencies. Above all when Modi announced Vaccine celebration week people are more impatient.

People are in search of Remdesivir injections, they are contacting medical centres, pharma companies, online searches and finally the private clinics. This comes amidst reports of shortage of vials and the government scrambling to meet the demand at public as well as private hospitals.

In some states especially Gujarat BJP leaders are stocking the vaccines illegally in their party office, and some places like Surat BJP started distributing free Remdesivir injections at the party’s office. The vaccine drive has become a political war. In Surat to people lined up with doctor’s prescriptions. The party plans to distribute 5,000 such injections in the city and neighbouring towns in south Gujarat, represented by state BJP president C R Patil.

What we see is a deviation — stolen, a falsified and substandard product that undermines the health of the people who take it. State authorities have no planning and politicians are misusing their authoritative capacities. On Monday Rajasthan – among those states reporting high vaccine uptake – vaccinated only around 1.5 lakh people, whereas last week it averaged around five lakh per day.

The centre has played down the warnings; Home Minister Amit Shah and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said there was enough stock, and that states were to blame for inefficient management. 320 doses of Covaxin – Bharat Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine – have been reported missing from a cold-storage facility at a government hospital in Rajasthan’s Jaipur.

The HB Kanwatia Hospital, which caters primarily to the nearby working-class neighbourhood of Shastri Nagar, said its stock of 200 doses was checked and accounted for on Sunday. The following day – Monday – a shipment of 489 doses was received. However, when stocks were re-checked the hospital found 320 doses were missing. Security guards were posted outside the cold storage unit in which the vaccines were stored.

The hospital has filed an FIR (first information report) with local police and an investigation is underway. Apart from figuring out how the vaccines went missing despite the presence of guards, the police will also examine CCTV footage from the hospital. The ‘case of the missing vaccines’ is particularly distressing because it comes as the country faces a continuing massive surge in fresh infections – over 1.84 lakh in the previous 24 hours, and over a lakh per day since April 7 – and an alleged shortfall in the supply of the life-saving drugs.

The first doses of coronavirus vaccines have been shipped and administered around the world. This development is a welcome sign of relief at the end of a long and difficult year. But almost simultaneously as vaccine distribution began, a warning was put out — not by health agencies or policymakers, but by The International Criminal Police Organization, INTERPOL. They told the world to be on the lookout for counterfeit vaccines and medical supplies.

 People wait in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at every designated Riverside vaccination centre in each state, many of them spend two long days in line and return due to the short supply of doses. Scarcity of vaccines amid a fatal worldwide pandemic is fueling fears of a black market that could inflict great harm on public health and confidence, where potentially stolen, spoiled or fake vaccine is sold to those who can afford to pay while the real thing is in short supply in communities most heavily impacted by COVID.

Stolen, Missing and falsified vaccines are sold in the black market by the authorities, somewhere around 2000 to 20000, as per the capacity of buyers these vaccines are sold. Many government authorities are stealing the supply and supplying it to private vendors to earn money through the black market. The health of the community damages the brand of companies and torpedoes efforts of the government to get the economy up and going. Vaccine tourism, fake medicines, fake products, with multiple victimizations are on the rise.

Above all these stolen and managed doses are also reaching Political party offices, one such example is BJP that was discovered when a private car carrying Remdesivir injections entered the BJP office, members of the BJP youth-wing workers along with former corporator Manu Patel, distributed orange-paper tokens with the lotus symbol — BJP’s election symbol — and numbers on them. People are fed up they have no courage to battle, black-market and political vendettas both adding stress to common man’s lives.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us at

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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