While vaccines are providing a much-needed mental health boost after seeing the rise in the number of cases all over India regarding vaccine scams, now the world is witnessing the dark side as well. It is suspected that the vaccines given to the people might be fake and fraudulent.
Precautions to take while vaccine registrations :
1. Register yourself and your family members/colleagues from authorized vaccination portals such as COWIN app. Citizens can go to https://www.cowin.gov.in to register themselves or via the Aarogya Setu app, which has CoWIN app integration.
2. There is no CoWIN app on Play Store for registration as the app is for administrators only. The list of authorised centers is updated daily through such authorised app. Please verify whether the hospital or center is authorized to offer such vaccination camp.
3. Verify the identity of the person/ persons approaching your housing society or workplace for COVID19 vaccination. Verify with the photo identification as well as by confirmation from the hospital/ NGO/ or government agency, verify whether such person is employed there and what is their designation. Also, recheck whether the person has received any written permission to conduct such camps - you may ask to see and verify such written permission or order from local or state government.
4. Every vaccination done through the registered app such as COWIN app will generate a one-time password as well as a beneficiary ID will be provided to you at the time of vaccination. Avoid the temptation to bypass the registration process in the authorized app or avoid anyone who says no documentation, or no queue is required - unscrupulous elements take benefit of such temptations.
5. Also avoid if anyone is making an offer which is too good to be true.
Things to remember while getting vaccinated :
1. In the situation of a paid vaccination, please insist for the payment receipt with proper details which include date/ the venue and the time of vaccination.
2. The receipt should also contain information about:
o The name of the COVID 19 vaccine, such as - COVISHIELD/ COVAXIN etc.
o The vaccine manufacturer name such as Serum Institute of India or Bharat biotech etc.
o The batch number and the lot of the vaccine
o Check whether it is in a usable condition by looking at the expiry date and the temperature monitor indicator present on the vaccine vial, referred to as VVM - Vaccine Vial Monitor
o Manufacturing location
o Registered trademark
3. Please tally the details on the COVID 19 vaccine vial label with name of the vaccine, batch number/ lot number of the vaccine is same as the one mentioned on the receipt.
4. Most important is the batch number lot number which can be verified with the manufacturer via email/ website/ customer support number of the manufacturer as well as vaccine procurement documents in possession with the vaccination organiser/ centre. Fake vaccines may have some spelling mistake or incorrect font.
5. An expired vaccine/ or any vaccine which is beyond the temperature range as per the vaccine vial monitor may be used for vaccination even though the other details may be correct. Usually, the fake vaccine contains normal saline or as in the case of Kolkata fake vaccination camp, Amikacin was used.
6. Post fake vaccine the typical effects post vaccination is absent such as no fever with body ache within 24- 48 hours, no headache etc. The indirect evidence can be seen in form rise in "COVID19 neutralising antibodies" which may be detected by serum-based test in laboratory, 2 to 3 weeks post vaccination.
7. In case of fake vaccines, the organisers may not allow photographs while vaccine is being administered or selfies while vaccination. Also, there is a probability that in fake vaccinations, the names of the hospitals used may be different for different people who have attended in same session in such fake drives or camps.
Identify the authenticity of the vaccine certificate :
1. The vaccine certificate whether post 1st dose or second dose is issued through the COWIN app only. The vaccine recipient receives a beneficiary ID number which is to be entered in the COWIN PORTAL https://cowin.gov.in / after One time password on registered mobile number.
2. This will enable to view the vaccine certificate with a QR code with the name and the date of vaccination.
3. Scan the QR code. No other vaccine certificate is valid in its place till the date of this article getting published.
Steps to Verify a vaccination certificate
- Scan QR code
- Once the Covid-19 vaccination is completed, a certificate is issued to the citizens as a proof of vaccination. The vaccination certificate has a secure QR code to protect it against falsification. The genuineness of the certificate can be authenticated from this portal.
Steps for verification :
1. Click on "Scan QR code"
2. A notification will prompt to activate your device's camera
3. Point the camera to the QR code on the certificate issued and scan
4. On successful verification, the following will be displayed
Message "Certificate Successfully Verified"
o Beneficiary Reference ID
o Date of Dose
o Certification Issues: Provisional/ Final
o Vaccination Venue:
5. If the certificate is not genuine, "Certificate Invalid" will be displayed
6. Private Sector Apps can now incorporate the "Certificate verification" service to verify COVID-19 certificates generated from Co-WIN.
The following steps need to be performed to integrate with Co-WIN and verify the COVID-19 certificate:
1. Go to reference code here
2. Get code snippet for reference and implement
3. Consume COWIN verification service into your application 4. Replace the public key used in code snippet with public key available here.
Note: Co-WIN uses an open-source component called "DIVOC" for the certificate issuance & verification service.
About the Author : By: Dr. Niranjan Patil (MD, Microbiology) is the Scientific Business head- Infectious diseases, Microbiology & Molecular biology- Head & Biosafety officer, Metropolis Healthcare Ltd.
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