Fourteen people were apprehended and a private clinic was blocked off in India as part of an investigation into an alleged vaccination fraud in which thousands of people were allegedly given saline solution injections instead of coronavirus vaccines. They were also charged between $10 and $17 for each dose.
Last month, some who had received the vaccinations became suspicious when their immunization certificates did not appear on the government’s internet portal, reports CNN. When none of the persons who joined the vaccination sessions noticed any of the normal post-vaccination adverse reactions, their suspicions deepened, and police opened an investigation.
“They were using saline water and injecting it,” said senior official of the Mumbai police department Vishal Thakur. “Every fake vaccination camp that they held, they were doing this.”
According to Thakur, about 2,500 people were given bogus vaccines outside of Mumbai. In May and June, the alleged con artists are suspected of arranging at least 12 private mass vaccination events.
Authorities said that the organizers, including medical experts, charged between $10 and $17 for each dose. The fraudsters made a total profit of $28,000, CNN reported.
Fourteen persons on charges of fraud, criminal conspiracy, and other offenses were detained by police. Doctor Shivraj Pataria and his wife Neeta Pataria, the owners of the Shivam Hospital in Mumbai, were also detained for their alleged involvement in the vaccine scam.
Although the hospital was a CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus immunization station, it did not have the approval to run immunization camps in residential neighborhoods. It was suspected that they refilled used vaccine bottles from the hospital that were supposed to be thrown away.
Vishwas Nangre Patil, Mumbai’s joint commissioner of police, informed news outlets last week that “many [of the] accused have confessed that they used saline water.” While the investigation was still ongoing, more persons could be charged, he added.
In India, CCP Virus infections and deaths spiked in April and May, with more than 180,000 people dying from the virus in only two months alone. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the South Asian country has seen over 400,000 deaths in total.
Delta variant, or B1.617.2, which is highly transmissible and first appeared in India in December, was classified as a “variant of concern” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in June.