A video showing two Karnataka government health officials pretending to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots for the purpose of a photo-op is viral with misleading claims that they faked getting inoculated.
BOOM identified the two officials as district health officer Nagendrappa and Dr Rajani M, principal, District Health Training Centre who clarified that they received the vaccine shot when the drive began and the scene in the viral video was from when mediapersons asked them to pose to get photos and videos for their publications.
The 43 second video shows a woman lifting her sleeve and a nurse pretending to give her the vaccine jab with a red circle highlighting that the she was not really injected. The woman even makes the victory sign in a bid to show that she received the vaccine. In the next scene a man sits on the same chair and rolls up his shirt sleeve while the nurse again pretends to inject him.
The video is viral after India launched its vaccination drive on January 16 where it administered two of its approved vaccines - Covishield and Covaxin - to health workers and front line health officials.
It is being shared with a caption that says, "In Tumkur District officials fake it before camera, pretending to take Covid Vaccine, why this fake promotion ????? Where there is BJP there is Fraud"
Some posts also falsely claim that the man and woman are Bharatiya Janata Party workers.
BOOM identified the man and woman as health officials from Tumkur district in Karnataka - District Health Officer Nagendrappa and Rajani M, principal, District Health Training Centre and the incident from January 16, when India kicked off its vaccination drive.
We first looked for news reports about the vaccination drive in Tumkur and found a news report in Daijiworld, a local media outlet about the same viral video saying the officials were under fire for the pretend shot. We then reached out to Nagendraappa, the DHO who confirmed that it was him in the video and said, "After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address, all the senior district health officials got vaccinated first. I received the dose at around 11.30 am and later when the mediapersons arrived, they wanted us to pose for some photos. They are the ones who asked us to pose like we were receiving a shot and we did it in that moment." He added that someone took a video of everything and made it viral. "We had already received our vaccine shot. We trusted the media persons and posed for them despite having received the vaccine and now we are being ridiculed for it."
When asked to share any evidence of having received the vaccine, Nagendrappa said he could not do so.
We then reached out to Rajani M who gave us a timeline of the day's events and said the first person to receive the vaccine was District Surgeon T.A. Veerabhadraiah at 11 am. "After him all of us took the doses one by one. I was also coordinating the observation rooms where all the doctors were resting after having received the vaccine. I received the shot at around 12 noon and then later was going about my tasks for the day. At around 3 pm, the District Commissioner arrived at the centre and all the media persons followed him in. They requested us to provide them with some shots of officials receiving the vaccine and asked me and the DHO to pose for the same. The reporters and photographers were the ones who suggested that we take pretend vaccines,"Rajani said. She further sent us documents from her CoWIN registration app to show that she had indeed received the first dose.
The screenshot is the provisional certificate issued to all those who received the first dose of the vaccine on January 16 and is available on the person's registered CoWIN app.
Do you always want to share the authentic news with your friends?