Only 22% Covid-19 vaccination amid glitches on Day 1 in Bengaluru
- BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, said that the app and portal were unable to handle the traffic and the glitches needed to be fixed at the earliest
A 102-year-old and a 97-year-old were among the recipients of the Covid vaccine, as the third phase of distribution began in Bengaluru and across Karnataka on Monday. The list of recipients also included the co-founder of Infosys, NR Narayana Murthy, and philanthropist Sudha Murthy.
However, the first of the day of the vaccination drive, aimed at senior citizens and comorbid patients, resulted in confusion due to glitches in the CoWIN portal.
According to data released by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), 938 senior citizens and comorbid patients were administered the vaccine on Monday whereas the target was 4,200 shots, thus limiting the drive to 22%, an official said.
According to data, out of the 22 vaccination centres, four centres — Victoria Hospital, CV Raman Nagar General Hospital and Columbia Asia Hospital in Whitefield and Sarjapura - did not provide a single shot of the vaccine. This was attributed to the glitch in the CoWIN portal and app, wherein officials couldn’t access data. “Details of those who registered for an appointment did not reflect on the portal,” said the official.
BBMP commissioner N Manjunath Prasad, said that the app and portal were unable to handle the traffic and the glitches needed to be fixed at the earliest. “The vaccination drive was scheduled to be held between noon and 5pm but the portal showed it as 9am and 6pm. This ended up in people lining up for hours before scheduled time,” he said.
In some cases, officials were unable to log into the system for hours, resulting in the vaccination starting late. “Another problem we faced was regarding the OTP. People were not getting OTPs even after being registered. This delayed the process,” said an official at a hospital in east Bengaluru, on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, the emergence of multiple Covid-19 clusters in Bengaluru and the government’s decision to impose travel restrictions on those coming from Kerala and Maharashtra, have led to one big question among citizens — will there be another wave of the virus in the city?
While the Centre has sent a team to assess the situation and suggest steps to curb the spread of the virus, data and experts tell a different story.
A comparison of the number of Covid cases reported in Bengaluru shows that the average number in the last three months has come down. In January, the average number of cases reported in Bengaluru was 601. This came down to 338 in January and the average further dropped to 241 in February.
“The numbers at this point are not alarming. Nonetheless, we are stepping up our surveillance and other precautionary measures. More than the numbers in Karnataka, these steps are in place because of the caseloads in Kerala and Maharashtra,” Trilok Chandra, commissioner, health and family welfare department, said.
While the numbers of cases have dropped, there are questions raised about testing. In December, the state conducted 1,02,195 test per day on average. In January, this dropped to 85,294 and it dropped further in February to 62,105 tests per day. Health department officials said that a target of 75,000 tests has given to the officials.
Prasad defended the drop in the number of tests saying the reduction in cases led to fewer tests. “If someone tests positive, we test primary and secondary contacts. We are doing it and because the number of cases is less, the number of contacts are fewer,” he said.
A member of Karnataka’s Covid-19 technical advisory committee (TAC) said that talks of the second wave in Karnataka, especially in Bengaluru, is mere speculation.
“The numbers have come down. We are now deploying marshal at weddings and other large events to ensure social distancing and other precautions are followed,” he said.
However, restaurants, pubs and cafes remain occupied in Bengaluru, despite the government asking citizens to take precautions. “Malls are witnessing high footfalls and the number of people travelling to tourist destinations has increased over the last few months. There has been a record attendance of people participating in political events and marriages with no masks or compliance with any safety measures,” said a health official.