The Punjab government has suspended the medical superintendent and senior medical officer of Lahore’s Government Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital after a “fake entry” was made of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Covid-19 vaccination at the hospital, it emerged on Friday.
The development comes after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on Thursday lodged a case against two other employees of the hospital for making a bogus vaccination entry under the name of the PML-N supremo, who has been living in the UK since November 2019.
An order issued by the Punjab Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department dated September 23, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, said Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital’s principal medical officer Dr Ahmad Nadeem, who was holding the additional charge of medical superintendent, as well as senior medical officer Dr Munir Ahmed were placed under suspension.
Both Dr Nadeem and Dr Ahmed were suspended “on account of inefficiency and misconduct” and were directed to report to the provincial health department with immediate effect, according to the order, which did not mention the case involving the Nawaz fake vaccine entry.
An official of the inquiry committee constituted by the provincial health department told Dawn.com while requesting anonymity that the committee had recommended the doctors’ suspension.
Meanwhile, Dr Muhammad Ajaz Butt, the additional principal medical officer (APMO) at Government Mian Munshi DHQ Teaching Hospital, Lahore was transferred and posted at Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital as its APMO, and was given the additional charge of medical superintendent.
The FIA had registered a case over the fake entry late on Thursday after an inquiry into the incident was started on the recommendations of the Punjab government.
The agency nominated a guard Abdul Hassan and ward attendant Adil Rafique in the FIR, stating that they used the tab name/login of vaccinator Naveed Altaf to make a bogus entry of the former premier using his national identity card on Sept 22 (Wednesday).
Police also registered a case against the two suspects on the complaint of the hospital’s medical superintendent.
The issue surfaced after the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) officially uploaded the record which showed the PML-N supremo having been administered the first vaccine jab. It embarrassed the Punjab government and triggered a debate on the vaccination entry system as Nawaz has been in London since 2019.
The government portal showed Nawaz got the first dose of Sinovac from the Government Kot Khawaja Saeed Hospital on Sept 22. The health facility is located in the stronghold of the PML-N.
An official earlier told Dawn that the hospital had found out that a ward attendant and a security guard made the bogus entry. He said both the suspects had been suspended from service after they claimed that a man had given them the ID card number to make the Covid vaccine entry in the record of the hospital.
The man told the employees that it was the CNIC of his elderly father who got the first jab by a health department team at his home. The visiting team could not make the entry against his father’s CNIC into the government system and he (the suspect) requested the hospital’s employees to do the same, the official said, while quoting the initial inquiry.
He quoted the employees as saying that they were unaware that the CNIC number was, in fact, of the former prime minister.
While commenting on the incident during a press conference on Thursday, PML-N Vice President and Nawaz’s daughter Maryam Nawaz expressed her surprise at the “fake vaccination” of her father, saying, “this could draw an international reaction over the kind of system Pakistan has for vaccine administration and registration.”
“It only exposes the system and its vaccine registration mechanism,” she said, adding: “I am worried about it.”
Nawaz had left Pakistan for medical treatment in London on Nov 19, 2019, days after he was released on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption. He has not returned to Pakistan since.
Pakistan had confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus on Feb 26, 2020 — more than three months after Nawaz’s departure for the UK.