The first day of online registration of children between 15 and 18 years for vaccination against Covid-19, which will kick off on Monday, was marred by technical glitches on Saturday with many in Mumbai not being able to book their vaccination slot as the Centre, due to a technical issue, failed to activate the online option on the centralised Co-WIN portal for the city.
In other districts, though the online slot booking option was active, the applicants had to apply multiple times due to slow servers. From January 1, the Centre has opened the online registration and booking of slots for vaccination of children. However, the technical error that struck the Co-WIN portal reminded many of the glitches that took place during the start of the mass immunisation programme in January 2021.
“The probable beneficiaries could register on the portal but couldn’t book a slot due to a technical issue. As the portal is maintained by the Centre, we have no role to play in it,” said Suresh Kakani, additional commissioner, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
However, Kakani said the children don’t have to worry as they can directly get vaccinated at the centres offline. “We will mainly focus on offline vaccination so that any children can walk into the centres and get themselves vaccinated. This always simplifies the process and yields better results,” he said. In Mumbai, there are around 9 lakh eligible children between 15 and 18 years. BMC has made preparations to start with 2,500 vaccination children daily which will be stretched further.
“Vaccination for children will be carried out at nine jumbo centres (Richardson and Crudas at Byculla, NESCO jumbo centre, NSCI at Worli, BKC jumbo centre and jumbo centres at Kanjurmarg, Malad, Mulund and Dahisar) where all the preparations are being made as per the directives of the Centre. Each centre has the capacity to vaccinate 1,500 children daily,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, executive health officer, BMC.
In Maharashtra, the public health department has made arrangements for the vaccination of 60.63 lakh eligible children at 650 centres.
“These centres will only provide Covaxin doses for children. At centres where both adults and children can get vaccinated, we will keep separate queues for Covaxin and Covishield to avoid any mix-up of the vials,” said Dr Sachin Desai, state immunisation officer. At present, the state has around 50 lakh Covaxin vials in stock.
Meanwhile, a few parents from outside Mumbai faced problems while registering online for appointment as the server was slow. Dr Anita Sharma, a general physician from Kolhapur, failed thrice to register her 17-year-old son on Co-WIN portal.
“The portal has added the option to upload a student’s photo ID card, which wasn’t available earlier. But due to the slow server, it kept crashing. Finally, on my fourth attempt, I got a slot,” she added.
Due to the upgradation of the Co-WIN portal, the state didn’t have the data on the total number of registrations recorded on the portal on Monday. “In India, 2,05,113 registrations were recorded. But as the portal is under upgradation, the state-wise break up isn’t immediately available,” said Dr Pradeep Vyas, additional chief secretary, Maharashtra.