Three elderly women who went to a government hospital for Covid vaccine on Thursday were given anti-rabies shots instead, in a bizarre incident reported from Shamli district in Uttar Pradesh. The state government has acknowledged the blunder after a probe.
Saroj (70), Anarkali (72) and Satyawati (60) fell moderately ill after returning from a Community Health Centre in Shamli.
"We have received a detailed report on this episode and we found the women did go to get their Covid vaccinations but by mistake they did not go to the first-floor vaccination centre and instead went to the OPD, where the pharmacist, who was leaving for some work, asked a private person - the pharmacist of a 'Jan Aushadi Kendra' -- to give them anti-rabies shots," said Jasjit kaur, District Magistrate, Shamli, in a video statement to reporters.
That man allegedly administered the shots without question and minus any kind of checks, the inquiry has found.
"I have instructed the CMO (Chief Medical Officer) to suspend the pharmacist," Ms Kaur said.
Anarkali, one of the women, said she was sure she had been given a 'kutte ka teeka' (anti-rabies vaccine for dog bites). "I felt dizzy after returning home. I had doubts at the hospital too when I was not asked for my Aadhaar card (necessary for vaccine beneficiary registration)," she said.
60-year-old Satyawati said she had raised strong objections at the hospital. "I asked what injection they had given me and the man told me it was a rabies vaccine. Before that I had asked the man at the counter if vaccinations were being done here and he said yes, go buy a Rs 10 syringe and come and I will administer the vaccine," she said.
The instance of negligence has emerged at a time UP, like many states, has seen a surge in coronavirus cases.
The state has reported a record 9,695 fresh cases. Its capital Lucknow has also reported an all-time high of 2,934 cases and 14 deaths.