• The bizarre incident happened in the Indian state of Gujarat 
  • The shocked family members have approached authorities
  • Vaccination certificates were issued for two other dead people also

The family members of a man who died three years ago have been left reeling when they received an SMS from health authorities saying their dead relative has got "his first dose of COVID vaccine."

The bizarre incident happened in the Indian state of Gujarat, hinting at the confusion and errors plaguing the country's massive vaccination program.

The relatives of Hardasbhai Karingiya, who died in 2018, received an SMS on May 3 from authorities informing them that he was vaccinated, India Today reported.

"We are unable to understand how this is possible," said Arvind, his nephew. The family has a death certificate that proves Karingiya's death. More baffling was the fact that he was also issued with a "vaccination certificate."

They have now approached authorities to understand how this happened.

This doesn't seem to be an isolated case. A similar incident was reported in the Dahod district of Gujarat where a man who died in 2011 was certified "vaccinated." Naresh Desai got an SMS from the government Sunday saying his father, Natwarlal Desai, who died a decade ago, "has got his first dose of Covishield vaccine," The Times Of India reported.

He filed a complaint with the district administration to find out how his father's name got into the vaccination list.

Further inquiry revealed that Natwarlal and his granddaughter were using the same tax code or Permanent Account Number (PAN). But even then, it remains a mystery as to how the man's name appeared in the message instead of his granddaughter's. "We have sought details from the Income Tax Department in this case," a senior government official told The Times Of India.

Another family in the state received a "vaccination certificate" for their mother who died of a heart attack a month ago. The woman died after taking the first dose of the vaccine in March. When Nipul Sharma approached the hospital mentioned in the SMS, where his mother "got" the second dose, he was shocked to find that there was no vaccination drive happening there.

Infuriated by the callousness, the family sought a police investigation into the matter. Meanwhile, the health department senior officials said they were investigating the alleged negligence.

In India, the registration for vaccinations is done through the COWIN portal. It also schedules appointments for vaccination and issues the vaccination certification of the beneficiary.

A medical worker inoculates a woman in Allahabad, India. The country is suffering a shortage of vaccines.
A medical worker inoculates a woman in Allahabad, India. AFP / Sanjay KANOJIA