India investigates as elderly man boasts of receiving 11 Covid shots

Brahmadev Mandal claims the jabs have improved various ailments

An Indian health worker administers the Covishield vaccine to a worker at the factory of a face-mask manufacturer on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. AP
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An 84-year-old Indian man claims to have had 11 coronavirus vaccine shots over the past year, hailing the jabs for curing his ailments.

Brahmadev Mandal, from Chausa village in eastern Bihar state, used different identity cards and phone numbers of his relatives to get himself registered on the government portal to receive more than his fair share of vaccine doses.

His vaccination streak came to an end on Sunday when he went for his 12th dose and was detected by health workers.

India has so far allowed only two Covid vaccine doses per person and will begin giving booster shots to frontline workers and its elderly vulnerable population from next week.

The retired government employee first got himself registered on the CoWin portal when the vaccination drive was launched for the vulnerable and elderly last January.

He had his first dose on February 13 before going on an immunisation spree, noting down the dates and venues of each dose.

Mr Mandal received further jabs in March, May, June, July, August, three doses in September, two in November and his last on December 30.

“I have been benefited by the vaccines … everyone should take it. Government has brought a good thing. I was unable to walk, I had backache but now it is gone. I do not get cough or cold anymore,” Mr Mandal told local news channels.

The incident has highlighted the cracks in the online system that tracks the immunisation drive and has prompted authorities to investigate how Mr Mandal managed to get so many shots.

India has succeeded in administering nearly 1.48 billion doses to its population, but there have been several instances of malfunctioning of the CoWin system, including wrongly issuing certificates to people who had not been vaccinated.

“He used different identity cards, changing names and addresses for booking the slots. He has had no reaction and is perfectly healthy,” Dr Amrendra Pratap Shahi, a district civil surgeon, told The National.

“We have ordered an inquiry to find out the truth. The probe will find out how he managed to get so many shots of Covid vaccines,” Dr Shahi said.

Updated: January 06, 2022, 4:59 PM