A tweet alleging Indian National Congress is hindering India's vaccination drive is viral on Twitter. The tweet is a poster featuring Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and constitutes vaccine wastage data from three states; Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh. The poster reads, "Is the Congress trying to derail India's vaccination drive?".
The poster was tweeted by Priti Gandhi, who is National Incharge of Social Media, BJP Mahila Morcha, on 26 May 2021. She captioned the poster, "In their hatred for PM Modi, is the Congress deliberately trying to derail India's vaccination drive?? #PointToPonder".
Since then, the poster has been reshared by many users on Twitter.
Congress is hindering India's vaccination drive and the vaccines wasted in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh are 11.5 lakh, 37 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively.
The origin of this data:
On 21nd May, Patrika reported that 11.5 lakh doses of corona vaccine were wasted in Rajasthan. Union Minister and Jodhpur MP Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched an attack on the state government, questioning who will take responsibility for the wastage.
On 25th May 2021, the Union Ministry of Health accused the JMM led Jharkhand government of wasting 37.3 per cent of the corona vaccine followed by Chhattisgarh at 30%.
The numbers on the viral infographic come from these places.
Since then, opposition ruled states have been criticised by the central government and its ministers for vaccine wastage while the states have been claiming the numbers are significantly less than what the central government is claiming.
Refutal of allegations of wastage by the Rajasthan govt:
CM Ashok Gehlot on 28th May 2021, rubbished the allegations of wastage of 11.5 lakh vaccines and said the BJP is playing negative politics. He tweeted that according to the data recorded on the CoWIN app,16,367,230 people have been vaccinated in the state till May 26. Of these, 338,000 doses were wasted, which is just 2 per cent. This is much lower than the national average of 6 per cent and the 10 per cent of wastage permitted by the Government of India.
In the post, Rajasthan CM said that the incorrect figure is due to technical glitches in eVIN, the software for tracking vaccination. At the start of the vaccination drive, due to the technical glitches, in many centres, the entry of 2.95 lakh doses happened twice resulting in a total number of vaccines being stated to be 17,001,220 in eVIN, which is incorrect.
Refutal of allegations of wastage by the Jharkhand govt:
As mentioned above, on May 25, 2021, the Union Health Ministry, in a review meeting on the progress of the vaccination drive, had stated that Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand had reported over 30 per cent vaccine wastage.
After the centre alleged Jharkhand government for wastage of vaccine, Chief Minister Hemant Soren lashed out at the centre, saying how can one imagine that Jharkhand will allow its "suraksha kavach" (protective gear) to go waste?. The CMO tweeted that the current Vaccine Wastage proportion is only 4.65%.
On 27th May, the state sent a letter to the union government seeking rectification of wastage figures, saying the CoWIN portal till May 27 erroneously showed the state's wastage data at "38.45 per cent", reported the Economic Times.
"Jharkhand's total wastage of doses is projected as 38.45 per cent on CoWIN portal till May 27...A list of session sites with actual data is attached with the letter so that after rectification of CoWIN portal correct status could be projected," Project Director, National Health Mission wrote to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry. The letter talked about a review held by the state found out human errors and typo by vaccinators while entering data on CoWIN portal added by technical glitches has resulted in portrayal of higher wastage than actual.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren told PTI, "The centre seems hell-bent to project things in a poor light which is causing problem to poor states like Jharkhand. This is why the state had gone to the Supreme Court for allowing its platform for vaccination."
As per the latest report, on 11 June, 2021, The Telegraph referring to the State Health department mentioned 2.68 per cent as actual vaccine wastage till the night of 10 June. "We received 57,15,600 vaccine doses for 18 plus and 45 plus age groups of which 47,32,426 were used. The balance is about 8,30,630 doses. Considering these figures, the wastage is 2.68 per cent", state health department's IEC wing's nodal officer Siddharth Tripathi said.
The state health department's IEC wing's nodal officer Siddharth Tripathi told the media that earlier, the data had to be sent to the central government to update it on CoWin. Now the access to update the data on CoWin is also given to the state governments. Since the updating work is on, the data released is still tentative. Tripathi also clarified that many data entry operators are not computer savvy at ground level, which further led to a mismatch of central and state data regarding vaccine wastage.
Refutal of allegations of wastage by the Chhattisgarh govt:
On 26 May, Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo refuted the claim made by the centre that the state wasted 30.2% per cent of the vaccine provided. It said that the centre had created a new portal to collect data directly from vaccination centres and not the state government. It led to a delay in collecting data from vaccination centres which the centre is referring to vaccine wastage. Deo said, "It was assured that the centre will coordinate with States to resolve the issue & make the correct figures public".
The CM of Chhattisgarh also clarified the ambiguity regarding vaccine wastage on Twitter and released the actual figure.
"This is laughable. During our previous meeting with the Union Health Minister, it was pointed out to the Union government that these are not the correct figures. We had asked them to correct them, fearing that questions would be raised in the media. They had said that those figures won't be released to the media, and today I understand they have released some half-baked information," the state Health Minister said to the media.
Even Madhya Pradesh, a BJP ruled state, had refuted the centre's data on vaccine wastage saying there could be issues with the data or a communication gap with the Health Ministry.
From the above-mentioned reports by various media outlets and the clarifications made by state authorities of Rajasthan, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh, it is evident that the difference in vaccine wastage in both centre and state government data is likely because of technical glitch and irregular updating of data on CoWin. Hence, Viral tweet alleging Congress to hinder India's vaccination drive and the data mentioned in the tweet is misleading.
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