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Chaos, confusion and technical glitches mark phase 2 of Covid vaccination drive

PUNE On Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to senior citizens and eligible beneficiaries under phase two of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive, to get themselves vaccinated
By Steffy Thevar
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 08:22 PM IST

PUNE On Monday morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal to senior citizens and eligible beneficiaries under phase two of the nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive, to get themselves vaccinated.

Punekars took this seriously and stormed the Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC) Kamala Nehru hospital, one of three sites where vaccination had opened up.

However, the civic body was unprepared to tackle the situation.

Seniors citizens were left frustrated as the vaccination did not start until noon due to technical glitches and poor crowd management.

At least 12 lakh people are expected to get the vaccine under phase two in Pune city alone.

Not just senior citizens, or those within the age bracket of 45 to 59 years with comorbidities, had reached the hospital, but also frontline workers (FLW) and health care workers (HCW) whose names were missing from the earlier registration under phase one, also reached the hospital.

Citizens complained that the FLWs and HCWs were being prioritised.

Some citizens complained that given the rising number of cases in the city, no Covid-19 appropriate behaviour was being followed at the hospital.

PMC’s Kothrud-located Sutar hospital, along with the Rajiv Gandhi hospital, also saw beneficiaries returning due to the glitches with the CoWin app, which halted vaccination for hours.

A similar situation was seen at Sassoon General Hospital, the vaccination was delayed there too.

Sunil Shaligram, who had come for his vaccination at the hospital, said, “There is complete confusion at Sassoon hospital. Senior citizens were in a queue for hours. Vaccination had to be halted for a while because of the technical problems.”

Authorities at the hospital said that due to unregistered beneficiaries being vaccinated, the app was not able to verify ages and it added extra work for the hospital staff.

Users also complained on social media platforms that the CoWin app was not functioning. Citizens were unable to register their names, or they were unable to download the app on their phones.

Residents living in the city also said that they were being offered vaccination centres far from the city.

Arun Iyer, an author, tweeted on Monday afternoon, “The PMC must provide a list of hospitals within PMC limits that are actually offering vaccinations. The CoWin portal has a long list of clinics/hospitals, but no slots for the month. I am not sure if they are booked out or a portal glitch.”

Jabbed, and relieved

However, beneficiaries were elated when they finally got the vaccine.

Jatin Shejpal, aged 46, who came from Rasta peth to Kamala Nehru hospital, said, “I am suffering from thalassemia. I had got the comorbidity certificate and Aadhar card. However, when I reached the hospital, despite repeated attempts, the hospital was unable to register my name. After multiple attempts my name was registered and I could finally get the vaccine.”

Husband and wife duo, Jatin and Varsha Shah, aged 62 and 57, both could get the vaccine after their son got their names registered on the CoWin app a day prior.

Dr Murlidhar Tambe, dean at Sassoon said, “The app was not working in the morning and so vaccination was delayed. In the afternoon we began the process. By evening all the registered health care workers had been vaccinated and now we will vaccinate the senior citizens.”

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