LAHORE: The cumbersome process of data entry and a lack of coordination between the health ministry and Nadra has led to numerous complaints of non-issuance of immunisation certificates to the citizens who have received double doses of the Covid vaccination in Punjab.
Many complaints are also surfacing that Nadra’s website — National Immunization Management System (NIMS) — has refused several vaccinated citizens certification due to a lack of vaccination record in its system.
Despite getting two doses of Covid vaccine, NIMS generates message to the citizens of ‘unvaccinated status’ making them too worried. A majority of the complainants are those who want to travel abroad.
“The states have imposed travel restrictions the world over to stop transmission of the coronavirus and declared the Covid immunisation certificate mandatory,” an official told Dawn. Like, he said, the European countries declared that the EU Covid vaccination passport would be issued to all those who had been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.
The federal government had entrusted this responsibility to Nadra which had launched website NIMS for issuance of online immunisation certificates to the eligible candidates, he said. The complaints were surfacing, particularly in Punjab, that the staff deputed at the vaccination centres in various parts of the province were not properly entering/uploading data of the vaccinated people.
The official said there were reports that on average 12 or so people were submitting complaints on the Punjab government’s helpline 1033 every week that Nadra was not issuing them immunisation certificates. Most of such complaints were surfacing from Lahore’s vaccination centres and the health and Nadra authorities were shifting responsibilities instead of addressing the serious issue, he said.
After finding the authorities irresponsive to their complaints, the concerned people are using social media to draw their attention towards the issue by sharing record of their vaccination status and response of Nadra website. In one such example, a woman uploaded her status on social media saying that her husband got two doses of Sinopharm from Lahore’s Expo Centre – one on May 4 and second on May 29. She said her husband visited the NIMS website to get vaccination certificate online. “As he entered his CNIC number and the other required information, he was shocked to find a message of ‘unvaccinated’ from the website.”
The woman said her husband, in the meantime, got another code from the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) to get vaccination doses from the relevant centre of Lahore. He immediately contacted the staff officer at the Expo Centre from where he got two doses of the vaccine and apprised them of the response of Nadra’s website.
She said her husband was informed by the staff officer of the Centre that he had not been entered in the system data of vaccinated citizens due to some technical issues on Nadra’s website. The woman lamented that since the matter of getting vaccinated against Covid was quite sensitive, no one from the relevant departments clarified whether it was safe for the vaccinated citizens to get two more doses of the vaccine.
Another citizen, Zahid Baig submitted a complaint on 1033 for a detailed investigation into his case when Nadra refused him certificate despite being vaccinated twice. He said he got two doses of the vaccination from the centre in Lahore and then visited the NIMS website to get online certificate. He was informed that Nadra was not having record of his vaccination status and suggested him to get two jabs to be eligible to get the document.
Nadra’s spokesperson Faik Ali told this reporter that the fault was not on the part of his department as it issued certificates against the data of vaccinated citizens after receiving it from the health ministries. He said Nadra had issued 244,000 Covid immunisation certificates (mostly from Punjab) to the citizens all over the country till May 8.
He admitted that many people were complaining that their data was not being updated on the record of the health ministries.
Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2021