Till Tuesday evening, about 429,500 people had been vaccinated across India, about 70% of the target. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
Till Tuesday evening, about 429,500 people had been vaccinated across India, about 70% of the target. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)

Rajasthan, Bihar seek on-spot registration to bypass Co-WIN glitches, reluctance

  • Glitches in the Co-WIN application, used for registering and communicating with the intended recipients of the vaccine, was reported from several states, leading to delays in the vaccination drive.
By Sachin Saini | Edited by Abhinav Sahay, Jaipur/patna
PUBLISHED ON JAN 20, 2021 08:48 AM IST

As Covid vaccination drive has been hampered by the glitches in the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) application, at least two state governments, Bihar and Rajasthan, have sought Union health ministry’s permission to bypass the application and conduct on the spot registration of beneficiaries.

On the second day of the vaccination drive on Monday, glitches in the Co-WIN application was reported from several states, leading to delays in vaccination. As messages could not be sent to the beneficiaries through the app, they had to be called individually by officials. Also, as there were server problems, the data of the beneficiaries had to be manually updated.

Till Tuesday evening, about 429,500 people had been vaccinated across India, about 70% of the target. Officials said apart from the glitches, the turnout was also poor at some places because of concerns over the safety of the vaccine. The hesitancy had emerged after it came to light on Saturday that approval for Covaxin was given for emergency use for clinical trials and beneficiaries had to be monitored actively on a daily basis and made to fill up a form for seven days after receiving the jab.

“We have asked the government of India to allow vaccination through on the spot registrations as there is some technical snag with the (CoWIN) software,” said Dr Sudheer Bhandari, principal of Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Medical College in Jaipur, and a state level coordinator for Covid vaccination in Rajasthan.

The glitches in CoWin application had affected the vaccination drive in Rajasthan. The second day of the inoculation program on Tuesday saw 11,288 healthcare workers getting vaccinated, about 5% less than the first day. Also, 15 AEFI (adverse event following immunization) cases have been reported from the state. A total of 23,546 people have been vaccinated across the state in the first two days, the official data shows.

Bihar government also allowed the vaccination centers to change the beneficiary list on the Co-WIN portal, if those listed for inoculation did not turn up at the designated time. The Co-WIN portal hitherto did not allow any change in the beneficiary list generated randomly through the portal at the eleventh hour.

With the changes, Bihar government expects to stem the declining vaccination footfall, which was a matter of concern for the government, said health officials. Bihar’s vaccination percentage slid from 62% on the inaugural day (January 16) to 51.2% on day two (January 18). It further dipped to 50.1% on Tuesday, the third day of the vaccination campaign in the state. The number of session sites (vaccination centres) had gone down from 301 to 298 in the state.

The declining vaccination footfall, said officials, had a direct correlation with vaccination hesitancy among doctors.

“Some of our doctors have refused to take the vaccine because they are not sure about its efficacy as the Covaxin is still at the trial stage,” said Dr Binod Kumar Singh, superintendent of the Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH), where the vaccination percentage has dipped to 17.46% on Tuesday from 28% on the inauguration day, Saturday.

“The Co-WIN portal was updated today to allow facilities in-charge the option to include beneficiaries from among their healthcare workers, who are already enrolled on the portal for vaccination. We will now train our data-entry operators before they can utilise this option,” said executive director of the Bihar health society, Manoj Kumar, who is also the state’s nodal officer for vaccination.

After a 12% drop in vaccination, the Uttarakhand government decided that doctors would counsel the health workers who fear side effects from Covid-19 vaccine.

“We have identified a few reasons for lesser turnout for vaccination and it is not necessarily that people are hesitant. Doctors would provide counselling to health workers on the benefits of vaccination,” said Dr Ashutosh Sayana, principal of Government Doon Medical College Hospital, one of the biggest vaccination centres in Dehradun district.

72% registered beneficiaries had received the vaccine on Monday in the state, which reduced to 60% on Tuesday.

(With inputs from Dehradun bureau)

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