Bengaluru

COVID-19 | Only 938 senior citizens and co-morbid patients vaccinated against target of 4,200

Senior citizens and those aged above 45 with co-morbidities turned up in large numbers at various centres for the vaccine. But many had to return disappointed owing to glitches in the CoWIN portal.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

Glitches in CoWIN portal and confusion marred the vaccination drive for senior citizens and patients with co-morbidities on Monday. Of the 22 vaccination centres in the city, multiple centres – Victoria Hospital, C.V. Raman Nagar General Hospital and Columbia Asia Hospital in Whitefield and Sarjapura – did not give a single shot due to glitches in the CoWIN portal and app. In most of these centres, the CoWIN portal couldn’t be accessed, and in some cases, registrations and scheduled appointments did not reflect on the portal.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) could only give the jab to 938 senior citizens and co-morbid patients, just below a quarter of the target – 4,200 – for the 22 centres.

“Several issues, especially with the CoWIN portal, have come to light, which we have flagged off to the ministry. The app and portal are not able to take the load, which needs to be fixed immediately. Also, while the vaccination drive was scheduled to be held between noon and 5 p.m., the portal showed it as 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., prompting senior citizens to make a beeline to the centres early in the morning,: said civic commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad.

The day started with senior citizens queuing up at centres much before the scheduled time of noon and without prior registration on the portal.

Raghavendra Reddy, 72, hoped to get the vaccine and walked into the nearest vaccination centre on Monday. However, he had not registered on the portal or scheduled an appointment. “Media said there will be walk-in registrations. But here they say it’s only for rural areas, after waiting for two hours. Most of the senior citizens in urban areas too are not well-versed with online registration. We should be given the facility of a walk-in,” he said.

At most centres, the vaccination drive did not even begin at noon as scheduled. A doctor at one of the private vaccination centres said they couldn't login into the portal till 2 p.m. At most centres, it was at least 1 p.m. by the time the drive began.

Even after that, there was a long time lag in those who had registered for the vaccination to get an OTP on their phones, which is a part of the verification process. This delayed the vaccination process making it impossible to achieve the targeted 200 jabs per centre. This forced centres to reschedule vaccination appointments for many senior citizens to Tuesday and some even two days later, which upset many senior citizens, most of whom were accompanied by their children.

Anubhav Srivastava, who accompanied his senior citizen parents to M.S. Ramaiah Hospital, said the scheduled appointment had no meaning if the vaccination centres couldn't keep it. “It will be a hassle if we have to bring our parents again,” he rued.

He also added that more transparency on which vaccine was being administered, and the modalities for the second shot was needed. “We are fine with either of the two vaccines, but there is no clarity on how to ensure we get the same vaccine for the second shot as well,” he said.

However, not all was bad. Several senior citizens and co-morbid patients heaved a sigh of relief after taking the shot on Monday.

Kichu Shankar, 61, told The Hindu that he was relieved to have been vaccinated. “There was neither pain nor any adverse reaction. There were some teething problems since it's the first day. But I am happy to have got the jab,” he said.

Another co-morbid patient Subhash Kumar, 48, said he initially was hesitant to take the jab, but realised it was better to take it since he travelled a lot. “The vaccination went off smoothly,” he said.

Visit by central team

A central team of three officials, a Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and two doctors, arrived in the city on Monday to review COVID-19 safety precautions and control measures, in light of the emergence of clusters recently.

The team visited the testing facility at Kempegowda International Airport, a cluster at Sambhram College of Engineering and Genome testing facility at NIMHANS.

“The team will also visit vaccination centres Tuesday morning, followed by a review with the State health department and Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike,” a senior civic official said.

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Printable version | Apr 14, 2021 1:00:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/covid-19-only-938-senior-citizens-and-co-morbid-patients-vaccinated-against-target-of-4200/article33966125.ece

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