LAHORE: A clumsy data entry method and a lack of cooperation between the health ministry and Nadra have resulted in a slew of complaints over the non-issuance of immunisation certificates to residents in Punjab who have got multiple doses of the Covid vaccine.
Many allegations have surfaced that Nadra’s website, the National Immunization Management System (NIMS), has denied certification to some vaccinated persons due to a lack of immunisation records in its system.
Despite receiving two doses of Covid vaccination, NIMS sends out a warning to residents who are “unvaccinated,” making them fearful. The majority of the complainants wish to travel internationally.
“To avoid the coronavirus from spreading over the world, the states have implemented travel restrictions and made the Covid vaccination certificate mandatory,” an official told Dawn. According to him, European governments have proclaimed that all persons who have been properly vaccinated against coronavirus would be awarded an EU Covid vaccination passport.
According to him, the federal government had given this obligation to Nadra, which had developed the NIMS website to issue online vaccination certificates to eligible candidates. There were allegations, particularly in Punjab, that employees assigned to vaccination centres in various regions of the province were not properly entering/updating information.
According to the official, on average, 12 to 15 people call the Punjab government’s helpline 1033 every week to complain about Nadra not handing them immunisation certificates. The majority of such complaints came from Lahore’s vaccination centres, he added, and the health and Nadra authorities were transferring blame rather than dealing with the significant problem.
Concerned citizens are utilising social media to raise attention to the issue after finding the authorities unresponsive to their complaints. They are sharing records of their immunisation status and responses from the Nadra website. In one case, a woman posted on social media that her husband received two doses of Sinopharm from the Expo Centre in Lahore, one on May 4 and the other on May 29. Her spouse, she said, went to the NIMS website to receive an online immunisation certificate. “As he submitted his CNIC number and other essential details, he was surprised to receive a message from the website saying he was ‘unvaccinated.’”
In the interim, the woman stated, her husband obtained another code from the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) in order to obtain immunisation doses from the relevant Lahore centre. He quickly contacted the Expo Centre’s staff officer, from whom he had obtained two doses of the vaccine, and informed them of Nadra’s website’s answer.
She claimed that a staff officer at the Centre informed her husband that he had not been included into the system of vaccinated people owing to technical challenges on Nadra’s website. The woman expressed her dissatisfaction with the fact that no one from the relevant departments had indicated if getting vaccinated against Covid was safe.
Zahid Baig, another citizen, filed a complaint on 1033, requesting a thorough investigation into his case after Nadra refused to issue him a certificate despite having been vaccinated twice. He stated he had two doses of the vaccine from a Lahore clinic and then went to the NIMS website to obtain an online certificate. He was told that Nadra didn’t have a record of his vaccination status and that he needed two vaccinations to be eligible for the paperwork.
The problem was not on the part of Nadra’s spokesperson, Faik Ali, who informed this reporter that his department provided certificates against the data of vaccinated residents after obtaining it from the health ministries. He said that until May 8, Nadra has provided 244,000 Covid vaccination certificates to residents across the country (mainly from Punjab).
Many people were complaining that their data was not being updated on the health ministries’ records, he admitted.