Rise in turnout prompts Mumbai civic body to increase vaccination units
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has introduced a walk-in option to boost the turnout at vaccination centres in the city after glitches in the Covid vaccine intelligence network (CoWIN) app have lowered the turnout. CoWIN has been developed by the Central government to manage the vaccination drive and many healthcare workers (HCWs) are not receiving notifications for their inoculation appointments despite being registered on the app.
BMC has been conducting the mass immunization programme in the city through 10 vaccination centres that have 31 units among them. In the first phase, the civic body’s target is to inoculate 4,000 HCWs daily. However, in the first three days (January 16, 19 and 20), the centres struggled to meet this target and instead barely reached the halfway mark. On Friday, BMC introduced “walk-ins”, which helped centres reach 93% of the daily target. BMC said that while walk-ins would receive vaccinations, priority would be given to those with appointments generated by CoWIN.
“With time, technical glitches in the app are getting resolved. Soon, they [beneficiaries] will start getting appointment messages on time. So, to better channel the process, the priority will be provided to the HCWs with appointments; then the walk-in beneficiaries,” said additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani.
On Friday, a few vaccination centres like King Edward Memorial (KEM) and Rajawadi Hospitals, recorded turnouts of more than 100% of the daily target. Kakani said no beneficiaries would be turned away in such event. “No one will be sent back without vaccination. On Friday, due to the rush, we also provided additional vaccinators for the inoculation. Also, all centres have enough vaccines to immunize more than their targets,” said Kakani.
BMC also plans to increase the number of vaccination centres. “We have over a dozen peripheral hospitals who are well equipped to run the mass vaccination process. With the further rise in the turnout, we will start including them among vaccination centres,” Kakani said.
As of now, CoWIN has been regenerating 20-30% names of beneficiaries who have already been shortlisted for vaccination daily. “The Central government has been informed about it and they are working on it. Hopefully, it will be resolved within two to three days,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC.
On Thursday, the Association of Hospitals, a trust comprising private hospitals, had approached BMC, seeking permission to inoculate in-house HCWs in their hospitals under the supervision of BMC auditors. Kakani said no decision has been taken on this matter.