Chattogram Medical College Hospital (CMC) recently lodged a complaint with the police that the Covid-19 vaccine registration app "Surokkha" had been hacked. But after preliminary investigation, the police said the app is safe and someone inside the CMCH has been sending fake messages regarding vaccination.
On Tuesday, CMCH Deputy Director Dr Aftab Uddin filed a general diary with the city's Panchlaish police station alleging that someone had hacked the "Surokkha" website and accessed the server.
According to the complaint, 5-10 extra people have been coming to the CMCH every day to get vaccines. They have messages with a date on their mobiles, but the date of the Surokkha app does not match with the date on the vaccine seekers' phones. The CMCH authorities noticed the matter and suspected that someone had hacked the site and entered the server and sent the dates illegally.
Officer-in-charge of Panchlaish Police Station Zahidul Kabir told The Business Standard on Wednesday that the police launched an investigation as soon as they received the complaint. At one stage, they realised that someone from inside the vaccination centre of the hospital was sending the fake messages.
He said, "We came to know that 10 operators from the vaccine center of the CMCH send messages to vaccine recipients, confirming the date of vaccination. These 10 operators have the same ID and password. One or a number of operators at the vaccine center are manipulating this opportunity to send additional messages to a number of extra people."
"We have already discussed the matter with the hospital's deputy director Dr Aftab Uddin and other officials. We are trying to find out which operator did this and why. We are also investigating whether the operator has taken any unethical advantage in return," said Zahidul Kabir.
CMCH Deputy Director Dr Aftab Uddin declined to comment on the matter when contacted on his mobile phone.
Chattogram Civil Surgeon Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said, "I do not think the issue is a big problem. The government has already decided to start the vaccination campaign with national identity cards. So I do not think there is a need to hack the app for this."
Meanwhile, hundreds of people in the city were facing problems in getting vaccinated due to the misleading messages sent from the vaccination center of the CMCH.
Mahbubul Alam, one of the victims, told TBS, "I completed the registration on the Surokkha app on 8 July. On 26 July I received a message on my mobile, which said I would have to go to the CMCH on 27 July to get vaccinated."
"But when I went to get the vaccine on the appointed day, the officials did not vaccinate me and 26 others and took us to the deputy director's office and threatened to sue us along with taking other measures," he continued.
"They said we had received the SMS by hacking the Surokkha website, but I collected my vaccine card using the one time password sent from the app. I feel ashamed because of such an embarrassing situation. I am also being humiliated socially. I also have concerns about getting vaccinated because of this complication," said Mahbubul Alam.
Asked about this problem, Civil Surgeon Sheikh Fazle Rabbi said, "No one has to worry about getting vaccinated. If they take the vaccine card and SMS with them on the pre-determined day, the officials of the center will be obliged to vaccinate them. "
However, later on Wednesday, officer-in-charge of Panchlaish Police Station Zahidul Kabir told The Business Standard that the hospital authorities withdrew the general diary.