India’s bid to accelerate its Covid19 vaccine rollout was marred by confusion over the government’s technology platform on the first day the jabs were made available to the elderly.
Just 427,000 vaccine doses were injected on Monday, as India kicked off the second phase of its vaccination drive, which aims to vaccinate 300m people by August.
Of those inoculated, around 146,000 were from the general public, while the rest were healthcare workers and other public sector frontline workers.
As of Monday, Indians over age 60, or those over age 45 with severe health issues that make them more vulnerable to Covid-19, can obtain vaccinations from private hospitals at a fixed price of Rs250 ($3.4).
But poor messaging about the details of the vaccination process has left many Indian frustrated as they sought to sign up for an appointment.
New Delhi requires every person seeking an inoculation to be registered on the government’s own CoWin database.
Most Indians wrongly believed that the registration process was to be undertaken by the government’s CoWin app.
But after the process got underway yesterday, Indian health officials clarified that the registration had to be carried out through the government’s web portal, not the app.
Many public health professionals have expressed concern that the poor functioning of the CoWin platform is acting as a drag on the vaccination rollout at a time when Covid-19 infections are on the rise. They said it could be stumbling block to seniors
However, some private hospitals have allowed walk-in vaccinations and are helping would-be recipients to complete the government’s registration formalities.
Overall, authorities said that 2.5m registrations were completed on the site on Monday, some of which may be for multiple individuals.
Among those who received vaccinations yesterday was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, various members of his Cabinet and several top business people.