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Private hospital pulled up for charging vaccine beneficiaries without administering jabs

The district health department on Monday served a notice to Chiranjivi Hospital in Jharsa for allegedly charging vaccination fees from beneficiaries while asking them to take the vaccine shot at government health centres. The police also filed an FIR under sections 420, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), health department officials said.

Officials alleged that even as the hospital had no vaccine stock since May 1, it opened at least 53 slots in the last week on the Co-WIN portal. However, the hospital refuted all claims.

On July 3, the department received a complaint from a vaccine beneficiary, who alleged that the hospital showed the availability of vaccine slots on the Co-WIN portal. However, when the beneficiary reached the hospital, he was asked to take the vaccine shot at Civil Hospital in Sector 10.

The district immunisation officer, Dr MP Singh, said that the hospital, however, asked the complainant to make the payment for the dose.

“It is still unclear as to how the hospital opened the vaccination slot on Co-WIN without having any vaccine stock. Secondly, even if they procured the vaccine stock, why was it not being shared with the health department? Initial investigations have shown that the hospital sent people to multiple vaccination centres in Gurugram and Delhi but charged money from them,” Singh said.

According to Singh, the private hospital was empanelled with the health department when vaccination was opened for front-line workers and the elderly population until April 30, when the health department provided vaccine stock to empanelled hospitals.

Dr Amrish Soni, the director of Chiranjivi Hospital, said, “Slots were opened on Co-WIN as we wanted to upload details of front-line workers who could not be documented in April. Since access to Co-WIN was granted recently, the vaccination team decided to upload the pending details. Also, we asked the people to take vaccine shots at government centres as we had no vaccine stock.” Hindustan Times