Highlighting how the well-heeled can jump the vaccine queue, an upscale housing society in UP’s Gautam Buddh Nagar district received free Covid vaccines, in camps held on its premises, brought all the way from an Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Aligarh’s Naurangabad nearly 120 km away.
Records accessed by The Indian Express show that almost 200 members of Jaypee Greens in Greater Noida were vaccinated in two camps conducted in the society late last month and the beneficiaries included those between the ages of 18-44, and those above 45.
At least 10 residents, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the camps were held in the society on May 21 and May 27. Records show that beneficiaries were issued certificates from the UPHC in Naurangabad.
When contacted by The Indian Express, Amit Mohan Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary of (Heath and Family Welfare), UP, said: “This matter has come to our notice. I have asked the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Aligarh, to inquire into the matter.”
Additional Chief Medical Officer of Noida, Dr Neeraj Tyagi, who is in charge of issuing permissions for such camps in the district, told The Indian Express: “Our office did not give any permission to hold vaccination camps on the given dates at Jaypee Greens.”
On Sunday, Gautam Buddh Nagar CMO Deepak Ohri and Sub-Divisional Magistrate Prasun Dwivedi visited the society to inquire about the camps. “We spoke to some beneficiaries and some other residents. We are inquiring into how the vaccines reached here from Aligarh and who administered it. District authorities were not aware of these camps,” Dwivedi told The Indian Express.
At least one resident submitted a written complaint to the officials, alleging that no CoWIN certificate was issued despite the vaccination on May 27.
Last month, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare opened up the vaccination drive to camps outside official centres. But it clarified in an order issued on May 29: “Near to Home Covid Vaccination Centre for elderly and differently abled person to be organized at group housing societies, RWA Offices, community centres, Panchayat Bhawans, School/Colleges, Old Age Homes etc on a temporary basis.”
When contacted, Dr Ramya, in-charge of the UPHC in Naurangabad, said: “The vaccinations of these beneficiaries were done at my centre. We can’t issue certificates to persons vaccinated at places other than my centre.”
Records show that the vaccine available at Naurangabad is Covaxin. Until May 31, official records show, the doses available at the UPHC were earmarked for those aged 45 and above.
The Indian Express has accessed several videos of Jaypee Greens residents appreciating arrangements at the vaccination camps held in the society — and internal communications circulated by Shubh Gautam, president, Jaypee Greens Residents Welfare Association, listing the names of many residents who were vaccinated.
When contacted, Gautam refused to provide details about the two camps or who had organised them in the society. “This is not a crime under IPC section 302 (murder). I deny all allegations outright. I am denying everything. It is not a good thing to do such a story in the pandemic,” he said.
(With Kaunain Sheriff M)