Over 1.2 crore register as vaccine drive opens for 18+, but you can’t schedule a jab yet, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Over 1.2 crore register as vaccine drive opens for 18+, but you can’t schedule a jab yetNEW DELHI: An enthusiastic response greeted the opening of online registrations for Covid-19 vaccination for those above 18 on Wednesday with the Co-Win platform recording over 1.23 crore registrations even though scheduling of appointments for May 1 onwards is not possible as yet.

Of the online registrations, 90% users registered after 4pm, when the portal began accepting 18-plus beneficiaries, a senior official said.

The exact numbers of new beneficiaries would be a dynamic figure, officials said. In the first three hours (4-7pm), 383 million API hits, initially as high as 2.7 million hits per minute, were recorded. As many as 1.45 crore text messages were successfully delivered, the health ministry said.

The registration process was accompanied by the announcement that appointments at state government centres and private centres will depend on how many centres are ready on May 1 for vaccination of 18-plus beneficiaries. Several states have in the past few days indicated they may not be able to begin the drive on May 1 as they are still tying up supplies.

The platform experienced initial glitches as the system was flooded with registration requests and OTPs were not received and dropdown menus did not function for a while. The portal, however, became accessible after a while and registrations proceeded smoothly shortly after being opened.

Though scheduling was not possible, the surge in registrations and high interest in the younger population as evident on social media and WhatsApp conversations was a welcome sign amid concerns that fresh infections are discouraging people from getting vaccinated. It will help convince states, private hospitals and vaccine-makers that there is a demand for inoculation.

As of now, jabs are available in private hospitals only for 45-plus people till the end of the month. Thereafter the Centre-supported vaccine rollout for this category will be available only in government hospitals.

Under the new scheme, states, private hospitals and corporates can access 50% production of Covishield and Covaxin for the 18 and above category. The intention, according to central officials, is to allow states more leeway in planning drives and creating incentives for vaccine-manufacturers to boost production. The higher price at private hospitals will also allow those who can pay to reduce the load on government facilities.

So far, the drive was driven by walk-in registrations. Of the total 14.71 crore registrations so far, 9.33 crore are walk-ins, 2.82 crore people are online. Around 2.55 crore health and frontline workers have also been registered by state governments. According to officials, online registrations witnessed a major jump after 4pm on Wednesday.

For people between 18 and 44 years, online registration and booking of appointments is mandatory for inoculation. Eligible beneficiaries can register directly on the Co-Win portal (cowin.gov.in) or through the Aarogya Setu app.

The government maintained that appointment for 18 to 44 is based on slots made available by private vaccination centres as well as respective state governments. While many were disappointed with the unavailability of slots, officials urged patience and said they will soon be offered.

“Things will improve within 8-10 days. Most states and private hospitals are still tying up with vaccine manufacturers. For many, supplies are on the way. Also, private hospitals right now are strained because of rise in infection. So resources are limited but it will improve as we move on,” a senior official said.

While initially some people faced issues in registration, the health ministry said the server supporting the Co-Win digital portal continues to work smoothly at its highest efficiency.

“These statistics indicate that far from crashing or performing slowly, the system is performing without any glitches. It is recording 55,000 hits per second and is completely stable,” it said.