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Sunday, June 20, 2021

Panchkula: Getting a slot for vaccination no easy task

Long queues at Panchkula, which is the only one in the Tricity vaccinating 18-plus at govt centres.

Written by Pallavi Singhal | Panchkula |
May 8, 2021 11:59:37 am
Covid-19 vaccination at Civil Hospital in Panchkula. (Express Photo: Jasbir Malhi) 

AS PANCHKULA becomes the only one in the tricity offering free vaccines to the youth, long queues and short windows for booking slots await the young who want to get vaccinated. Several have zeroed in on a probable time period when the window for booking slots opens each evening, others unaware of the mandatory booking of online slots reach the sites only to be turned away.

Akshit Sood (18) had been attempting to book a slot online since the registrations opened last week. “I was only able to get through Thursday,” he says, adding, “I realized a pattern over the days. The slots were opening up around 7.30 pm but used to get filled up within a matter of minutes, even before the clock hit 7.45 pm. So on Thursday I sat glued to the application from 7 pm onwards.”

Both Akshit and his elder brother were vaccinated at the AYUSH dispensary, after a long wait of 1.5 hours, which is only vaccinating people between 18 and 44 at Sector 9 today.

“Long queues are forming at the vaccination centres despite dedicated time slots being allotted. Several people are just walking in. They do not know that prior slot allotment is required,” says Akshit.

Even today, a couple, who had registered on the portal but could not book a slot, reached the dispensary and stood in the line. When they were finally turned away, they raised a hue and cry. “The waiting time increases because of this,” said Akshit.

Meanwhile, several others are finding it impossible to book a slot. Chirag Singh, a research scholar at Panjab University, is among those drawing a blank. “I log on every day and try to book a slot throughout the day. There are many lacunae in the application. It takes an OTP each time to log in. By the time I log in, all slots are booked. I think it’s sheer luck if someone manages to book a slot.”

With Panchkula being the only one in tricity to have started vaccination for those above 18 at as many as five centres with a capacity to vaccinate 100 to 200 each, the district is seeing a rush of people from neighbouring areas as well.

“No one wants to go to private facilities that are charging a bomb for the vaccine. We students cannot afford it,” says Chirag.

At least five centres, including Urban Health Centre Sector 16, Government Dispensary Sector 4, Government Dispensary Sector 25, Government Dispensary 11 and AYUSH dispensary Sector 9 have been reserved for the vaccination of those between 18 and 44. Despite a steady supply of vaccines, the current drive is turning out to be an uphill task.

On Friday, for instance, close to 2800 persons were vaccinated, including 438 between the ages of 18 and 44, 1374 between the ages of 45 and 59 and 893 above 60 years of age.

The total numbers of those vaccinated stood at 3000 on Thursday, 2300 on Wednesday, 2000 on Tuesday and only 1400 on Monday.

Panchkula by April 13 had already given out 1 lakh doses. As many as 1,52,230 vaccines have been injected, including 11,661 to healthcare workers, 16,833 to frontline workers, and remaining to citizens in various age groups.

Vaccinations were given at 22 government sites today.


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