Nearly 1.33cr apply for coronavirus vaccine, but couldn't find slots
A staggering 1.33 crore people registered themselves for the coronavirus vaccine on the Indian government's Co-WIN portal on Wednesday after registrations opened for those aged between 18 and 44 at 4 pm. However, most of them couldn't book slots. The registration process was accompanied with an announcement that slots will depend on the number of centers that are ready for vaccination from May 1.
The Co-WIN platform faced glitches when the registrations opened. Several users complained that they didn't receive OTPs and couldn't submit their details correctly. After the problems were ironed out, the Co-WIN site received as many as 27 lakh hits per minute. Aarogya Setu, the app which was created for contact tracing, put out a tweet revealing the number of registrations.
So we close Day 1 with 1.32 Cr Registrations on https://t.co/xWRsgcZ3lD. Kudos to Team CoWin for building a truly scalable and robust platform. Handling more than 50000 API calls per second is mammoth!! #LargestVaccinationDrive pic.twitter.com/DafOrdMfBP— Aarogya Setu (@SetuAarogya) April 28, 2021
Though the Centre is rejoicing at the number of registrations, the coming weeks would be far from easy considering beneficiaries want to get inoculated at the earliest. "The large number of daily deaths has done away with whatever little vaccine hesitancy existed amongst people," an AIIMS doctor told IE. Since the beginning of the drive on January 16, over 15 crore have been vaccinated.
The inability to book an appointment miffed the younger population yesterday. Hundreds of them took to social media to express anger and crack jokes at the Centre's methods. Amid the criticism, an official assured that the situation would improve in 8-10 days. "Most states and private hospitals are still tying up with vaccine manufacturers. For many, supplies are on the way," they told TOI.
However, the assurance looks empty, as states don't have enough doses with them. Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel revealed that he placed an order for 25 lakh vaccine doses each with Serum Institute of India (which manufactures Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (that developed COVAXIN). But Bharat Biotech replied that it would be able to deliver the doses by July-end, the Congress leader added.
"We are capable of vaccinating three lakh people/day. If the Centre doesn't give us the vaccine, then how can we function? We are ready with our road map, we can start even if they inform us a couple of days before May 1," he said.
Similarly, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope claimed the state would need 40 lakh doses per week. The state can easily vaccinate eight lakh people every day, but managed to inoculate merely 1.5-2 lakh people on Tuesday, he informed. Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said, "There are 3.25 crore persons in the state who fall into this age group. We need around seven crore doses."
The health department officials in Odisha also claimed that the third phase could get delayed. "The Centre has failed to supply adequate dosages of vaccines. At present, we have a stock of 1.23 lakh doses of Covishield and 3.56 lakh doses of COVAXIN," Public Health Director Bijay Panigrahi said. Likewise, Jharkhand has also sought 50 lakh doses from the Centre but got no response.
India is in dire need of more vaccines as it has been gripped by a dreadful second wave of the pandemic, which experts blame on mutated strains of the virus, mass gatherings, and a slow vaccination drive. In the last 24 hours, the country reported 3.79 lakh infections, the highest single-day surge for any country. With 3,645 fatalities, it also marked the deadliest day.