(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)
(Anshuman Poyrekar/HT Photo)

Maharashtra to inoculate its citizens four days a week

A day after the vaccination drive kicked off in the state and the country , the Maharashtra government on Sunday sought resolution of the technical glitches in the CoWIN app, while saying its next vaccination session will start from Tuesday
By Swapnil Rawal, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 18, 2021 01:01 AM IST

day after the vaccination drive kicked off in the state and the country , the Maharashtra government on Sunday sought resolution of the technical glitches in the CoWIN app, while saying its next vaccination session will start from Tuesday. The state had late on Saturday put its drive on hold for two days. Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said the state will carry out inoculation four days a week, as per the guidelines from the Centre.

The CoWIN platform assists programme managers, while conducting vaccination sessions. Data of the beneficiaries is populated onto CoWIN and the session allocation, details of vaccination to the beneficiary, information about the next dose will be captured and communicated digitally. On day one, the state faced technical issues with the app, which initially did not send out automated messages to beneficiaries to arrive at vaccination centres. Besides that, senior officials said the app was functioning slowly, hampering the pace of the programme, leading them to go for offline data collection.

However, the health department on Sunday refuted claims that the drive was suspended after CoWIN developed glitches. The department said no vaccination session was planned for Sunday.

“There is no suspension of the immunisation drive in the state. We are going by the government of India guidelines, which has said only four sessions in a week. It is shut tomorrow [Monday] for rectification of technical glitches in the CoWIN app,” said Tope, who was on a visit to Osmanabad said.

Dr DN Patil, state immunisation officer, said, “At some place sessions [which includes identification, vaccination and observation steps] were not created, so beneficiaries could not be selected. Initially, messages could not be sent. Today, we had a video conference with the Government of India. They have not given any timeline for issues to be resolved. They have just said that it will be done. We explained to them what issues we faced.

“Not just Maharashtra, other states, too, faced technical issues. They [Centre] have asked us to continue with vaccination wherever it works online. Where it is not possible, they have asked us to go ahead manually. We can collect vaccination details through Google Sheets. When apps start working, we will upload on the app.”

There was a lot of time being taken in the session steps to go ahead, probably due to load on the server on the first day... Not just Maharashtra, but other states too have complained that the app was lagging. Yesterday, we took the permission to do [immunisation] offline, but the go-ahead came quite late in the evening.”

With the go-ahead for offline entry of data, the state is expected to start the vaccination process again from Tuesday. Patil said that the Centre is insistent on online process, but has given a nod for offline as well, where app is not working or there is no internet. “Vaccination is equally important than app and data collection. People should get vaccinated and the programme will go on. We will start the vaccination process by Tuesday. We will do it four days a week because we do not want to hamper our routine immunisation work,” Patil said.

The health minister, meanwhile, sought the addition of a module in the CoWin app to add the data of the remaining people in the first phase of inoculation. In a meeting held via video-conferencing with union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Tope also sought the technical issues in the app to be sorted out.

“In the first phase of vaccination [in the country], 30 million people are frontline workers, 1 million are health workers, and 260 million are senior citizens, and people with co-morbidities. The data collection for the third category has not started yet as there is no module in the Co-Win app. I have asked for inclusion of this module in the app at the earliest so that we can start uploading the data on the app and subsequently intimation can be given to beneficiaries in time,” Tope said.

The health minister said that he also reminded the Centre to send the remaining 750,000 doses of the vaccine. “Maharashtra still needs 750,000 doses, which I sought to be delivered in the next few days. I am confident that the Centre would provide them soon,” he said. The state had sought 1.75 million doses and has got around 1 million so far.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra on Sunday added 3,081 fresh Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to 1,990,759. The state now has 52,653 active cases in the state. Maharashtra also reported 50 fatalities in the state, pushing the toll to 50,438. Mumbai, meanwhile, reported 531 fresh infections, taking the city’s tally to 302,757. The city recorded seven fresh fatalities, taking the death toll to 11,244.

Of the 50 deaths reported on Sunday, 21 occurred in the last 48 hours and eight in the last week. The remaining 21 deaths are from the period before last week.

Sunday also saw 2,342 recoveries which took the total recoveries to 1,886,469. The recovery rate in the state stood at 94.76%. In the past 24 hours, the state tested 62,901 samples, while so far the state has tested 13,806,387 samples and has an overall positivity rate of 14.42%.

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