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Three elderly women were given anti-rabies vaccines instead of being inoculated with Covid-19 vaccines at a government hospital in Shamli district, Uttar Pradesh. As the mass vaccination drive began in India, three women, identified as Saroj (70), Anarkali (72), and Satyavati (62) were mistakenly given the anti-rabies vaccine.

Officials said on Friday that a pharmacist in charge of the Kandla Community Health Centre's outpatient department (OPD), where anti-rabies shots are provided, was suspended and another pharmacist was fired, reported The Times of India. The chief medical officer of the hospital was notified immediately.

The district administration has taken action against the medical practitioners involved in the confusion after an investigation revealed the sequence of events. The District Magistrate (DM) of Shamli, Jasjit Kaur, said that the women had gone to the health centre to get a jab of Covid-19 vaccination but mistakenly entered the wrong ward for general outpatients in the ground floor, instead of the dedicated covid vaccination ward on the first floor.

The Indian Express noted that the pharmacist on duty had left the premises for essential work and asked a subordinate to administer the anti-rabies vaccination. He made an error and injected the women without checking any documents. The person who administered the wrong vaccine was a private employee at the Jan Aushadi Kendra and his service has been terminated, said Kaur.

The Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sanjay Agarwal said, “The anti-rabies shot is given every Monday and Thursday at the OPD. The Covid vaccination drive is being conducted at a separate place on the first floor of the health center. The women had gone to the OPD and asked for the vaccine.” A complaint letter submitted to the CMO stated that the women felt nauseous after the vaccine.

One of them, Anarkali told: “I had gone to get the corona vaccine and they injected the dog vaccine. I felt dizzy and have a headache. When I asked if I have to submit my aadhar card [Indian ID], they said it was not needed. Then they said it was a vaccine for a dog bite.”

As part of the Tika Utsav, a special vaccination drive launched to achieve optimum vaccination throughout India, 2.7 million were vaccinated on Sunday, the first day of the 4-day program.

This picture taken on November 23, 2020 shows a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to Chinese National Pharmaceutical Sinopharm logo.
This picture taken on November 23, 2020 shows a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to Chinese National Pharmaceutical Sinopharm logo. Getty Images | JOEL SAGET/AFP

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