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COVID19 crisis: Technical glitches, rampant cancellations mar vaccination drive for 18 plus in Kashmir

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File photo: KM/Umar Ganie


Srinagar:  Technical glitches and rampant cancellation have marred the vaccination drive for people above 18 years in Kashmir.

Not only are inoculation sites scarce, but the portal arbitrarily cancels the vaccine appointments of registered people.

 

Sample this: A 33-year-old male from Mehjoor Nagar, Srinagar looked forward to getting his four family members all in the age of 18-44 vaccinated. However, the whole process of going online on CoWIN App and booking the slot resulted in nothing concrete.

“We were supposed to be vaccinated tomorrow at Natipora Sub Centre. I booked the slots on Monday for May 6. Just got a message that they all have been canceled,” he said.

Now, he has to repeat the entire process to book the slot. “Besides, there are hardly any centers available for the 18 to 44 age group.”

To make the matters worse, many registered ones at the vaccination sites get outnumbered by the unregistered crowd of people. “I wondered why I took the pains to make an online appointment.  The unregistered ones came before me and got vaccinated as the staff did not bother to check the printout of slot booking. Subsequently, I was told there are no vaccines available,” he said

Jammu and Kashmir authorities on Saturday began the inoculation drive for people above 18 years. However, citizens in the age group of 18 to 44 years have to register on the Covaxin app to book the slot. There is no walk-in vaccination for this age group.

A senior health official told The Kashmir Monitor that Covaxin is currently administered at 10 vaccination centers in the district Srinagar for the age group of 18-44.

“We are planning to add more centers but it will happen gradually and in a phased manner. Moreover, the cancellation of some registrations has happened because earlier the time slots given were between 9 am-6 pm. Now as per the latest guidelines, the timing has been revised and vaccines will be administered from 10 am to 4 pm,” he said.

The official said they are aware of the inconvenience caused to people. “At the same time, they should understand that the portal is new. We are in the process of streamlining things and it will take one or two days,” he said.

He noted that they have decided to accommodate only registered ones in the future. “It’s not fair if the unregistered ones get vaccinated while the registered remain left out.  For instance, we will now inform the vaccinators beforehand in the morning to keep two vials in stock for the 20 registered people and not entertain the unregistered ones,” the official said. 

The Kashmir Monitor tried to seek a comment from Dr. Shahid Hussain, Extended Programme Immunization Officer (EPIO). However, he was not taking the calls.