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Tuesday, August 03, 2021

Walk-in vaccination for 18-44 group gathers steam at Delhi govt centres

Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti said all but four of the full-time government school vaccination centres in his constituency providing shots to the 18-44 category now have walk-in registration.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi |
Updated: June 24, 2021 7:53:58 am
Beneficiaries take a shot of a Covid-19 vaccine at a school near Pandara Road in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

Government-run centres in Delhi have been given the go-ahead to begin walk-in registration for vaccination of those in the 18-44 category — a process that has already kicked off in some centres in the city.

Last week, the Union Health Ministry had stated that anyone over the age of 18 can walk in to the nearest vaccination centre to get registered on the CoWin portal and get a vaccine shot. On Sunday, the Delhi government said it was preparing, and had received a communication from the central government that evening.

“In theory all vaccination centres are now walk-in for those above 18. However, we’re not sure if it has been universally implemented,” said a Delhi government spokesperson.

According to a senior Delhi government official, this facility “should be at most sites by now”.

Malviya Nagar MLA Somnath Bharti said all but four of the full-time government school vaccination centres in his constituency providing shots to the 18-44 category now have walk-in registration.

“Fifty per cent of the vaccine capacity at these schools is now reserved for those walking in for registrations, while the remaining is for those who are booking slots through the CoWin portal. We are seeing good response to this at the centres,” he said.

All doses earmarked for walk-in registration for the 18-44 category ran out by 1 pm at Kautilya Sarvodaya Vidyalaya in Greater Kailash. “There are 300 Covishield doses reserved for walk-in registration per day at this school. The walk-in registration has been happening for the last three days, and there is a big rush for this in the mornings. It runs out quickly,” said a civil defense volunteer at the centre.

For those who have been having a difficult time booking vaccine slots on the CoWin portal, walk-in registrations are a much-needed respite. Sanjay Maity took a day off from his job at a shopping mall to try and get himself and his wife vaccinated, but was wary seeing the number of people who had lined up for the walk-in registration at Government Boys Senior Secondary School, Malviya Nagar. Civil defence volunteers at the site were getting people who had come with their government IDs registered on a first come, first serve basis and handing out tokens to get vaccinated there.

“I have been trying to get an online booking for the last 20-25 days. The prices at private centres are unaffordable for me. My neighbour told me he walked in and got vaccinated here, so I took a day off from work. But I’m worried I might not get a token today, and that will mean I will have to miss another day of work,” he said.

Ashish Sharma, a 22-year old student, said booking online beforehand is ideal, though difficult. “I had been trying for so long to get a booking for me and my mother, who is also below 45, and we finally got slots but in two different centres. Mine is here in Malviya Nagar and hers is in Safdarjung Enclave. When we came here for mine, we were told she can also register here itself. That was convenient for us but the wait is long. We have been waiting for her turn for two hours now,” he said.

According to Wednesday’s vaccination bulletin, 84,539 vaccine doses were administered on June 22, of which around 55,000 were administered to those in the 18-44 category.

“When vaccines are available for the youth, the speed of vaccination increases. Even if we look at yesterday’s figures, out of all the vaccinations that were done, a major chunk of it was the youth, who got themselves vaccinated. This is the only way to remove people’s hesitancy, in Delhi and the country, that we make vaccines for youth available in adequate numbers,” said MLA and AAP leader Atishi while presenting the bulletin.

As of Wednesday evening, Delhi has a government vaccine stock of 9,10,000 Covishield and 66,000 Covaxin doses.

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