In Madhya Pradesh, Over A Lakh Got Vaccines With Identical Phone Numbers

No official reason has been given for the delay, but a report accessed by NDTV showed the phone numbers of over 1.3 lakh declared vaccinated are identical

Madhya Pradesh is expected to begin the second round of vaccinations from February 20 (File)

Bhopal:

When the first of the two-dose coronavirus vaccine shots were rolled out to healthcare staff and frontline workers in Madhya Pradesh - exactly one month ago today - there were celebrations.

However, on February 13, as other states began administering the booster dose, Madhya Pradesh was not on that list; the state will begin its second round of vaccination on Saturday - 28 days later and a week behind parts of the country.

Frontline workers who have yet to get even one dose of the vaccine can do so till February 19, the state government has said.

No official reason has been given for the delay, but a Health Department report accessed by NDTV showed the mobile phone numbers of around 1.3 lakh people declared vaccinated are identical.

These include around 83,000 health workers, around 32,000 employees of the Urban Administration and Housing departments, around 7,000 from the Revenue Department and a similar number from the Home Department.

The phone numbers of a few employees of the Panchayati Raj Department were also similar.

Of the identical numbers, around 17,000 were from Indore, around 11,000 from Jabalpur and around 8,000 from Bhopal.

The exact numbers in each case are being verified by the Health Department.

The report raises the question - were lakhs of frontline workers, whose numbers are apparently duplicated in records, not vaccinated because they did not get information about the shots?

The state government has played down this possibility.

Health Minister Dr Prabhuram Chaudhary said: "There is no problem with registration. If there is a mistake, we will get it checked."

The Congress is far from pleased, with former Law Minister and senior leader PC Sharma criticising the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government's carelessness.

"Carelessness in tests, vaccination... name, address, mobile number, everything fake. I don't think they are serious about coronavirus. If you have vaccines, then why you are not vaccinating?" he asked.

According to the centre, Madhya Pradesh has administered the first dose to over 75 per cent of registered healthcare workers in the state; only Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, Tripura and Bihar have achieved a bigger percentage, the centre said Tuesday evening.

Madhya Pradesh has reported nearly 2.6 lakh Covid cases so far, of which around 1,850 are active cases and around 3,400 are deaths linked to the virus.