COVID vaccination: spot registration may resume

The COVID-19 vaccination process and registration guidelines in the State are set to change as the Centre’s revised guidelines for National COVID Vaccination Programme comes into effect from June 21.

With the Centre deciding to provide vaccines to States for administering to all categories of people above 18 years free of cost from June 21, issues of vaccine scarcity are expected to be laid to rest.

The State government may thus resume spot registration for COVID-19 vaccination, alongside the prior registration and vaccination slot booking through CoWin portal.

The State government had decided to scrap the process of spot registration as the sudden vaccine scarcity and the surge in the demand for vaccination led to large-scale over crowding and commotion at vaccination sites, with people queuing up from morning to get the shot, in violation of all COVID-19 protocols

The government tried to solve the problem by cancelling spot registration and insisting that only people with prior online booking for vaccination need come to the vaccination sites, in the backdrop of continued vaccine scarcity. This only served to create new issues like digital divide and increased vaccine distribution inequities.

“Vaccination is now accessed only by those who know how to handle a mobile or a laptop well and those who know when the booking sites open online. Because vaccination sites and doses available per session are limited, the free slots get over in just 10 minutes. People end up spending days just to get a slot and then too, they are forced to travel to the nearby panchayats or towns for getting the shots,” says G.S. Vijayakrishnan, president, Kerala Government Medical Officers’ Association.

Vaccination needs to be taken to rural areas and done in a de-centralised and systematic manner to reduce the inequities in accessing vaccines and to ensure that the process is faster and easier for people, feels KGMOA.

Decentralising vaccination process

In a letter submitted to the Chief Minister, KGMOA has suggested that vaccination facilities be made available in the Corporation/municipality and panchayats according to the population and infrastructural facilities in each locality and that 80% of the vaccination slots be made available as spot registrations, while the rest could be made available for prior booking online.

KGMOA has pointed out that a system be evolved so that beneficiaries in panchayats and municipalities are selected utilising the voters’ list or house numbers.

If every local body could prepare a list at the micro-level of the people who need to be vaccinated in each locality, vaccination sessions for as many people could be arranged at the primary health centre or even at the sub centre-level. Spreading out vaccination sessions sub-centre or PHC-wise will prevent issues of overcrowding.

Priority lists for vaccination also could be prepared at the ward-level. If done in a systematic manner at the micro-level, the vaccination process could be faster and the authorities will also have a clear idea of how many are left not vaccinated in every panchayat, KGMOA says.

In Corporation areas, mass vaccination sessions could be conducted in stadium or auditoriums or mobile teams could be deployed through NHM to conduct sessions in apartments etc. with the help of residents’ associations.

KGMOA has also suggested that to take vaccination to more people, government could supply vaccines to major private hospitals as well as those in the periphery so that people who could afford to pay could opt for private hospitals.

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Printable version | Jul 24, 2021 5:05:57 PM |

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