CoWin app, hesitancy slow down Covid-19 vaccination drive
According to officials, the planned sessions for second dose could not be created on the app, which resulted in problems in informing health workers about the timing.
Glitches in the Co-Win mobile application to plan and track the coronavirus vaccination drive as well as some reluctance among selected recipients appeared to hamper efforts to give the second doses to those now eligible for it, reports from across the country on Monday suggested.
Six states -- Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Gujarat – began giving their second doses for the first time on Monday. Some others, such as West Bengal, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Haryana, started the process on Saturday, which marked 28 days (the required gap between doses) after the first shots were given to people during the nationwide launch on January 16.
In most states, the turnout on Monday was tepid, officials said.
In West Bengal, only 7,273 people received second doses compared to close to about 15,000 people who received the first dose on January 16
In Punjab, only four percent of those who received the first dose turned up on Monday. Out of 1,319 health care workers, who were scheduled to take second vaccine dose on Saturday, only 59 could get the doses.
“Technical glitches hit the application on first day of second dose. Those who missed their second shot can still take the vaccine anytime between four to six weeks from their first dose” said Punjab’s nodal officer for Covid-19, Dr Rajesh Bhaskar.
According to officials, the planned sessions for second dose could not be created on the app, which resulted in problems in informing health workers about the timing. “We have informed the health ministry about the problems in the app,” Bhaskar said.
In Jharkhand, from among the 3,085 recipients who got their first doses 28 days ago, only 2,405 turned up on Monday.
In Bihar, around 67% healthcare workers who were meant to take the second doses turned up. “The low turnout for second dose on the opening day was because of communication issues. Many civil surgeons and superintendents of medical colleges claimed that many eligible beneficiaries did not receive SMS on their mobile phones for the second shot of the vaccine today,” said Manoj Kumar, executive director of the State health Society, Bihar.
However, in Uttar Pradesh the response was good on the first day. Additional chief secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Amit Mohan Prasad said, till 2 pm around 32,000 health workers across Uttar Pradesh were given the second doses. He said 23,620 health workers were given first dose in the first round vaccination drive held on January 16. The vaccination drive will continue till late evening in the 75 districts, Prasad said.
In Tamil Nadu, less than 50% health workers meant to take the second doses have taken it yet. State health secretary J Radhakrishnan took a second shot of Covaxin on Monday urged people to come forward for the second dose. “Our numbers are steadily going up for vaccines. But there is too much information, some of it not scientifically proven that it is beneficial to take the second dose with a longer interval beyond 28 days, because of which we haven’t had a lot of people taking the second dose in time,” he said.
(With inputs from state bureaus)