‘I’m terrified’: Victims describe horror of fake Indian vaccine scam that lured in thousands

Police say scammers targeted desperate people at a time when vaccines were in short supply, injecting upwards of 2,500 people with an unknown substance. Shweta Sharma reports

Sunday 11 July 2021 11:08
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<p>NGO volunteers showcase a mannequin dressed in PPE on a cycle rickshaw during an awareness campaign against the spread of Covid-19 in Chennai, India</p>

NGO volunteers showcase a mannequin dressed in PPE on a cycle rickshaw during an awareness campaign against the spread of Covid-19 in Chennai, India

Rushabh Kamdar was thrilled when he found out he would be among the first people to receive a Covid-19 vaccine in his housing complex in Mumbai, after struggling for days to book a slot on the government’s official portal.

Describing it as a “blessing”, the 25-year-old immediately signed up for himself and his brother and says he didn’t give its legitimacy a second thought, as the inoculations were being organised by his resident’s welfare organisation. On 30 June, he and 390-odd neighbours received an injection – just not a Covid vaccine.

Officials from the housing complex only started to investigate what had happened when they did not receive their vaccine certificates for several days. After contacting the authorities about the delay, they found out they were the latest victims of a huge, months-long scam.

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