Explainer: Misleading message regarding COVID-19 vaccine policy guidelines

Coronavirus Misleading Vaccine

COVID-19 vaccination drive has come to a new phase and the state has opened up vaccination for senior citizens and those above 45 years with co-morbidities. Amidst this a message is going viral on social media claiming that they are the guidelines of the new COVID-19 vaccination policy of India which are set to be effective from 01 March 2021. The message claims that the cost of the vaccine is Rs.500. It says that the private hospitals will be charging money for vaccination while Government hospitals will be giving the vaccination free of cost. Everyone will have to be registered on Cowin App or the COVID 2.0 software. In addition, the message states that people above the age of 60 must carry voters card or PAN card.

Fact Crescendo received this message for verification on our WhatsApp Fact Line number 9049053770.

The message states, “This is happening in India. Why not in Nepal?

New Covid Vaccination policy wef 1st  Mar 2021

1. All Vaccinations in Private hospital will be charged. Whether healthcare workers or normal public. 

2. People can still get free vaccine in Govt hospitals. 

3. Charge of vaccine is Rs.500 approx

4. All people still have to be registered on Cowin app/ Covid 2.0 software. 

5. Every day, 40% Vaccinations would be for pre-Registered and 60% will he reserved for Walk- ins. Even walk-ins have to be registered there. 

6. Above 60 need to carry Voters card/ Pan card.

7. Above 45 will need a Medical certificate from ANY registered Medical Practitioner, private or public. 

8. Medical certificate template will be available in the private hospital.”

Facebook Post | Archive Link

Fact Check-

We started our investigation by searching for the Press Release by the Indian Government regarding the process of of Empanelment of Private Hospitals as COVID Vaccination Centres, and Advance Self Registration, On-Site Registration and Facilitated Cohort Registration of potential beneficiaries. 

We found that on 27 February 2021, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has announced the expansion of the vaccination program to all citizens above 60 years of age and those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with specified co-morbidities effective from 01 March 2021.  We found the guidelines on the viral message to be misleading which is explained below:

1- CLAIM- Cost of Vaccination is Rs. 500

FACT- Vaccination will be free of charge at the Government Vaccination Centres. The beneficiary will have to show a photo ID document for proof of age (preferably Aadhar card or EPIC card) and certificate of co-morbidity (if required). Those taking the COVID vaccine at any designated/ empanelled private health facility will have to pay a pre-fixed charge. 

According to a press release by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare reported by PIB, ‘Private Hospitals functioning as CVCs may recover a charge subject to a ceiling of Rs. 250 per person per dose’. This establishes that the charge of vaccine in private health facilities is not Rs. 500 as claimed in the post. When calculated the total cost for two doses is, however, Rs. 500.

2- CLAIM- 40% Vaccinations would be for pre-registered and 60% will be reserved for Walk- ins

FACT- According to CO-WIN 2.0, guidance vaccination slots are classified as reserved slots and Open slots.

Reserved slots are further classified as:

  1. Mobilization slots- ‘Slots for which respective State/UT Government shall mobilize beneficiaries for on-site registration, appointment, verification, and vaccination (all on-site on the same day).
  2. Slots reserved for second dose for beneficiaries who have already received first dose.

 Open slots- ‘slots open for online appointments by general public’.

The respective state governments will decide the proportion of mobilization slots whereas the number of open slots for a session will be worked out by subtracting the number of reserved slots from the CVC (COVID-19 vaccination centre). In addition, the document nowhere stipulates that 40% of vaccinations would be allotted for pre-registered and 60% would be reserved for walk-ins (on spot).

3- CLAIM- Voters card/ Pan card for Registration

FACT- Following Photo Identity Documents can be used by citizens for availing online registration.

a) Aadhar Card/Letter
b) Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC)
c) Passport
d) Driving License
e) PAN Card
f) NPR Smart Card
g) Pension Document with photograph

PIB Fact Check has also clarified that the viral message on social media is misleading. They mentioned that “Several claims are being made in a forwarded #WhatsApp message regarding the next phase of the #COVID19 vaccination drive. #PIBFactCheck: These claims are #Misleading. For more information related to the vaccination drive, read here: https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1701053

No such policy has been issued by the Union Government.

Archive Link 

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has uploaded a user manual on their official government website for:

Conclusion– Fact Crescendo found the post message to be Misleading.


Title:Explainer: Misleading message regarding COVID-19 vaccine policy guidelines

Fact Check By: Aavya Ray 

Result: Misleading