A Covid-19 vaccine shot being administered at Rajawadi Hospital in Mumbai on January 19. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)
A Covid-19 vaccine shot being administered at Rajawadi Hospital in Mumbai on January 19. (Satish Bate/HT Photo)

Covid vaccine drive: Health ministry allows on-spot beneficiary registration

Co-WIN app has been tweaked to allow states to accommodate walk-in; however, priority will still be given to current day beneficiaries
UPDATED ON JAN 20, 2021 08:44 AM IST

To deal with the issue of low turnout of healthcare workers at the Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccination sites, the Union ministry of health and family welfare has modified the Co-WIN app to now allow on-spot beneficiary registration, and with the upgrade, the states can accommodate walk-ins.

“The average vaccination sessions allowed per site are 100, and we were told in some centres fewer people were turning up. We have made a provision in the app to also accommodate beneficiaries scheduled to take the jab on other dates. Earlier, the software wasn’t designed to accept beneficiaries outside the day’s list but now they can,” said Dr RS Sharma, chairman, empowered group on Covid-19 vaccination.

“It made sense to make changes in the software because a lot of resources otherwise could go to waste, such as, manpower that was there at the centre, vaccine supplies etc. So long as the person who has landed at the session site is eligible to receive the vaccine, even if they are registered for any other day, there should be no problem. Why waste resources and time, since we have to vaccinate a particular number of healthcare workers anyway,” said Sharma.

Also read | 9 states, UTs among better performing areas during Covid-19 vaccination drive

He, however, refuted allegations that there were major glitches in the Co-WIN app that is the backbone of Covid-19 vaccine delivery management system.

“There are minor hiccups, which are normal to have when you put such a large-scale system in production. Dry runs are one part but in real-time, there is always a possibility of encountering issues which may have been missed otherwise. None of what we have seen so far is anything major, in fact, some are even procedural issues that are being rectified,” he said.

The officials in the ministry said that there were no issues with the app; in fact, the vaccination process will also be scaled up soon.

“It also depends on how tech-savvy are the people handling the software. There is also the option of manually uploading data but that is only in extreme situations and has to be done real-time otherwise the backlog will be huge,” he said.

While walk-ins have been allowed, priority will still be given to current day beneficiaries.

“Those who are registered for the day will have to be vaccinated first, and others should be accommodated only if registered beneficiaries do not turn up. Certain conditions are non-negotiable such as eligibility, so that those not eligible don’t jump the line; record the vaccination event real-time, and issuing of vaccination certificate. Everyone who gets vaccinated must be accounted for so that tracking is effectively done,” said Sharma.

“This software is an empowering tool, not a disabling tool,” he added.

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