As India gears up to inoculate millions of citizens against the COVID-19 virus, dry runs are being conducted across the country. In Uttar Pradesh, even as the the trial run is being conducted in all 75 districts of the state - one particular effort in Varanasi has gone viral.
Now a dry run does not actually use doses of the vaccine. Rather, dummy boxes are transported to replicate the process that will soon be undertaken under the immunisation drive. It is a trial of sorts to test out the operational aspects of training from the use of Co-WIN IT platform for the management of the entire vaccination process to the deployment of HR Cold chain preparedness, biomedical waste management and more.
As such when a bicycle laden with boxes of the 'vaccine' trundled up to the Chaukaghat Women's Hospital in Varanasi, many were startled. A video of the vehicle, laden with dummy boxes and accompanied by a police official has since gone viral.
Health officials in Prime Minister Modi's Lok Sabha constituency reportedly say that the debacle was the result of a miscommunication, adding that the boxes on the bicycle were not a part of the dummy run. "As per our information, the dummy vaccines had already reached the hospital from the storage and the boxes on a bicycle were sent in confusion even though one set of dummy vaccines had already reached the concerned hospital," an Outlook report quotes Varanasi Chief Medical Officer, Dr VB Singh as saying.
As the District Magistrate explained, the hospital in question had a storage point, and so, the vaccine boxes did not need to be brought in. However, it would seem that the absence of a van to collect the boxes had confused officials who then attempted to make do with a bicycle. According to a PTI report, six vaccination centres have been made in every district, including three in their rural areas and three in urban areas.
The news has garnered some shocked reactions online, with many wondering how such a gaffe could have taken place.