Thousands still struggle to get slots for COVID-19 vaccination

A mass COVID test for merchants on S.M. Steet in Kozhikode under way on Friday.   | Photo Credit: K Ragesh

Thousands of people in Kozhikode district are struggling to get vaccination slots booked via CoWIN portal set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Many in the 45-plus age category who had received the first jab are now unable to book a slot on the portal for their second dose. “My wife and I took the first Covishield dose at a private hospital in the city on April 12. Based on the revised interval for the second dose after 84 days, I started receiving SMS on my registered mobile number reminding us to schedule the appointment as the second dose was due on July 5. But I was unable to book a slot for 10 days,” Vinay Krishnan, a resident, said.

The 50-year-old sales manager said he used to look for a slot at 8 a.m., noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. as the CoWIN portal said that slots are updated by State vaccination centres and private hospitals at these timings everyday.

His neighbour P.S. Gafoor suggested that he contact an accredited social health activist (ASHA) or someone he knew at a private hospital. “I had to rang up a friend attached to a city hospital. After a rigorous process, we got an appointment and received the second dose on July 17,” he said.

People have no option but to use multiple methods, including networking with private hospitals or their circle of friends and acquaintances at health centres, to get first and second doses. “I managed to get the first dose at a private hospital. The second one was at a primary health centre after getting notification via Paytm’s vaccine finder,” Mr. Gafoor said.

Young people get their slots after getting alerts on COVID-19 vaccination slot availability via Telegram. “But that requires nimble fingers to login to the portal and enter the OTP sent to the registered mobile number,” Abel John, an engineering student, said. Nevertheless, the harrowing ordeal of getting COVID-19 vaccine slots is the same for young people too.

“I got the first dose in the student portal category after contacting an ASHA volunteer,” Manish Kumar, a youngster, said.

As of July 22, nearly 10,96,467 got their first dose in Kozhikode district and 4,38,074 got the second dose.

In the 45-plus category, 7,03,233 received the first dose and 3,31,989 two doses.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:35:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/thousands-still-struggle-to-get-slots-for-covid-19-vaccination/article35501269.ece

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