Centre writes to Delhi govt on irregularities in identification of COVID vaccination beneficiaries

New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The Centre has written to the Delhi government drawing its attention to irregularities in the identification of beneficiaries below the age of 45 years for COVID-19 vaccination by some private facilities.

In the letter to Principal Secretary (Health), GNCTD, the authorities have been asked to immediately issue a show cause notice to Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health, Neuro and Allied Sciences (VIMHANS) located in the north east district, operating as a private COVID vaccination centre (CVC), regarding such wrong practices which violate the vaccination norms, the health ministry said.

The letter also talked about seeking a written explanation from the institute within the next 48 hours, it said.

'An appropriate monetary fine may also be imposed on the hospital. Further, it has been suggested that depanelment of the hospital may be considered if the explanation to the show cause notice is found unsatisfactory,' it read.

The letter by Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan pointed out that there have been serious lapses in registration of beneficiaries by VIMHANS.

'VIMHANS has been found to register beneficiaries below the age of 45 years as healthcare workers (HCWs) and frontline workers (FLWs), and vaccinate them,' the health ministry said.

As per provisions of the ongoing COVID-I9 vaccination drive, citizens above 45 years (from April 1) are being vaccinated along with HCWs and FLWs above 18 years of age.

'The Co-WIN sample data (March 19-April 3) of vaccinated beneficiaries from this private CVC verified by the health ministry revealed that many beneficiaries lie outside the ambit of eligible beneficiaries (not under the identified priority populations groups), in violation of the guidelines laid down by the Union health ministry,' it stated.

Noting that vaccines are a precious commodity, the letter stated that these serious lapses at VIMHANS CVC in terms of compliance of COVID-19 vaccination guidelines harm the countrywide vaccination exercise as eligible beneficiaries may get deprived from vaccination.

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 for violation of the guidelines issued by the Centre on the eligible groups of population for receiving COVID vaccination, where persons below the age of 45 years have been wrongly registered as HCWs and FLWs.

The COVID-19 vaccination exercise as a tool to protect the most vulnerable population groups in the country from COVID-19 continues to be regularly reviewed and monitored at the highest level, the ministry added.