Shortage of vaccines hits plans to organise special vaccination camps for them

Many elderly people who are not tech-savvy and financially backward families that don’t have access to a smartphone or computer are struggling to get a slot booked for their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine through CoWin portal. Though lists of such persons are available with ward-level committees and Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), shortage of vaccines has hit plans to organise special vaccination camps for them.

“I am totally clueless about the procedures to be followed for booking the vaccine. We have no smartphone to do it independently. On-call booking system would have been very helpful for those who use ordinary phones,” says Komalam, a daily wage worker from Puthiyangadi. She adds that those with smartphones are also not able to help her because of non-availability of slots.

Some of the senior citizens say the one-time password (OTP) troubles them a lot during the booking process. Many a time, the OTP comes late or the website goes into time-out mode while entering it, they complain. According to them, the process cannot be completed without the assistance of a third person. They also demand a walk-in facility for vaccination for the elderly.

Though paid vaccination is available in two prominent hospitals in the city, many low-income families are reluctant to opt for it now. “For a family of four or five members, it is not an easy option,” says Santhosh Kumar, a carpenter from East Hill.

Meanwhile, Health Department officials say they are gearing up to organise ward-level registration camps for helping out people who struggle to complete the online registration process. ASHA workers will coordinate the task and it will be completed by the end of the month, they add.

The registration drive, according to officials, will also give a clear picture about the total number of such persons in the district. They will be given walk-in vaccination service with spot registration with the support of local administrators, they add.

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