Kollam: State Youth Commission Chairperson Chintha Jerome posted a photograph of herself receiving the anti-COVID-19 vaccine on social media, and sparked a controversy.
Several netizens pointed out that the State was yet to start inoculating adults aged under 45 due to a shortage of the vaccine. They alleged Jerome, aged 32, was a beneficiary of “backdoor vaccination”, an apparent reference to the alleged illegal appointments made during the first Pinarayi Vijayan government.
Boris Paul, an advocate practising in Kollam, lodged a complaint against Jerome with the Chief Minister. He also enclosed a copy of the photograph with the complaint.
Advocate Paul said Jerome’s vaccination was a serious issue since the government had officially announced that the inoculation of adults aged between 18 and 45 against COVID-19 would be delayed.
The Chief Minister’s Office said the complaint has been forwarded to the Principal Secretary, Department of Health, for initiating appropriate action.
Responding to the allegations, Jerome said she had accepted the vaccine based on Central government guidelines that said all public servants could be inoculated against COVID-19.
Youth Commission Chairperson is in the rank of department secretary. A majority of employees attached to the Secretariat and Vikas Bhavan have already been vaccinated. Jerome received the vaccine at the Fort Taluk Hospital. The Youth Commission has been functioning from Vikas Bhavan.
Jerome claimed that she had registered online for the vaccination. Those who took umbrage to her receiving the vaccine argued that only those on election duty and health workers were eligible for vaccination irrespective of their age.