March 2, 2021 3:20:38 am
Several senior citizens turned up at private hospitals to get the Covid shot on Monday — the first day of Phase II of the mass immunisation drive, which is covering those over 60 and those between 45 and 59 years with co-morbidities.
While the process was smooth at several places, glitches with the CO-WIN portal server slowed the process at others.
At Max Hospital, Saket, there were two queues: one for those who had pre-registered on the portal and one for those who opted for on-site registration. Once they showed their documents, beneficiaries were given a token for payment.
They were seated in the waiting area, and token numbers were called out. After they paid Rs 250, they were called to the vaccination room.
There was some confusion regarding who was to stand in which queue and where payment was supposed to be made, and hospital staff who volunteered to help fielded several queries. Dr Varun Kaul said, “Most queries were regarding the CO-WIN portal. Some had registered but their names were not showing up.”
Among them was Nitin Sharma (44), who had pre-registered his parents on the portal. He said, “I got a slot for 9 am-5 pm for today and we came at around 12 pm. But their names did not show up on the system. It is not possible for them to stand in line and keep traveling since they are old.” He tried to get them re-registered but the server hung.
The issue was resolved around 2 pm.
Others like Samiran Kundu (60) faced no issues. Waiting in line to get his token, he said his daughter, who is in Mumbai, got him registered the previous night: “My daughter was very persistent so I decided to go for it. So far, the process seems smooth.”
Dr Sahar Qureshi, hospital medical superintendent, said, “We have a capacity to vaccinate around 600 a day. Today, around 60-70 of us volunteered and ensured the process was smooth.”
By 5 pm, 770 people had been inoculated at the four centres of Max Hospital in Delhi.
Max hospital, in a statement, said: “We did over 770 shots at various centres on day 1, despite teething issues with the online portal and the drive commencing only by noon.There was a slight glitch due to a server downtime of the CO-WIN registration portal; we expect it be ironed out in the coming days.”
The server problem slowed down the process at IBS Hospital in Lajpat Nagar. Jawahar Panjwani (72), who had registered through the app, said, “I had registered but because my name was not showing up, I had to re-register. But the server was down… I had to wait till 2.15 pm.” He was accompanied by his son.
K K Gupta (64), who was also in line, said his doctor advised him to get vaccinated. “My sister in the US got her first dose of the vaccine but still got Covid a few days later. She probably contracted it before antibodies developed. The lesson is that we must continue to take precautions.”
Gupta has not stepped out of his house for a year and even when he does, he stays in the car. His wife, who was with him, said she turns 60 in a few months and will think about getting vaccinated too.
For Brij Mohan Taneja (71), the decision to take the shot was not a planned one. Stepping out of the vaccination room with a smile, he said: “My nephew called me and asked what I’m doing today. He then told me about a vaccination centre nearby and I thought ‘why not’?”
At Apollo Hospital, Indraprastha, vaccinations took place at three locations. The hospital, however, saw long lines as many healthcare workers who were yet to take the vaccine showed up as well.
Durga Rai (74) said she and her husband registered on the portal and they received a message to reach the hospital after 2 pm. “We have been waiting for an hour-and-a-half. Payment is done and we are waiting for our turn but they should have had a clear-cut division between healthcare workers and the general public. We hope it is done today because we have trouble coming from Sarita Vihar to the hospital in an auto.”
Her husband B B Rai (76) said, “Some of our relatives are doctors. They already got the shot and told us we should get it too.”
By 4 pm, around 200 beneficiaries got vaccinated at the hospital. Staff said all problems would be resolved by Tuesday.
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