New Delhi: India expanded its COVID-19 vaccine coverage Monday by including everyone over 60 and those aged from 45 to 59 who have comorbidities in the net with Prime Minister Narendra Modi setting the pace by being the first person to take a jab. Thousands of people queued up at government and private medical facilities across India as the country further opened its vaccination programme that started January 16 for healthcare and sanitary workers.
Amid reports of glitches and some people saying they were finding it difficult to navigate the Co-WIN 2.0 app to register and book an appointment, the Union Health ministry clarified to say the app on Play Store is meant for use only by administrators. Registration and booking for appointments has to be done through the portal, it said. More than one million citizens were registered on the Co-WIN portal till 1.00pm, the ministry said.
Though registration opened at 9.00am, the prime minister was the first off the block. He visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) early in the morning to take his first dose and appeal to everyone eligible to get themselves inoculated.
“Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS. Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19,” Modi tweeted at 7.06am. “I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine. Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!” he said.
Modi received the indigenously developed Covaxin vaccine from Bharat Biotech. The other vaccine being administered in the country is Covishield from the Oxford-AstraZeneca stable.
Sister P Niveda, from Pondicherry, administered the shot to Modi and was informed only in the morning. She told reporters that the prime minister, after being administered the vaccine shot, remarked, “Laga bhi diya, pata bhi nahin chala (Already done? I didn’t even feel it).” The other nurse, Rosamma Anil, is from Kerala and said it was the happiest day of her life. Because our Prime Minister Modiji came to our AIIMS hospital for taking vaccine,” she said.
As the vaccination programme got underway in other places across India with hopes that it would help control the uptick in cases in several states, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik also received their shots.
In keeping with the electoral promise by the BJP-led NDA ahead of the recent elections in the state, Kumar said vaccines will be provided free to everybody. He also appealed to everybody to come forward and get themselves vaccinated
Patnaik echoed him. “Happy to share that I took my first dose of #COVID19 vaccine today. Grateful to our scientists, health workers for their race against time to deliver the vaccine to people. Appeal to all eligible people to come forward and get vaccine for a #COVIFFreeOdisha,” he said on Twitter.
In Delhi, Arun Kumar Gupta, 66, who retired as a manager of a PSU bank, was one of those to respond to the appeals.
“A policeman came to us and took our registration numbers. We kept waiting for our turns. I received the vaccine around 11.45am. I was never tested for COVID-19 and I am not scared of the vaccine,” Gupta said at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality (RGSS) Hospital
Notwithstanding the votes of confidence from various political leaders and high profile personalities, confusion persisted.
“Registration and booking for appointment for #COVID19 vaccination is to be done through #CoWIN Portal: www.Cowin.Gov.In. There is NO #CoWIN App for beneficiary registration. The App on Play Store is for administrators only,” the ministry tweeted in a bid to clarify matters.
Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere, using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal www.Cowin.Gov.In or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu. There is also a walk-in provision for the beneficiaries to get themselves registered at the nearby session site to get vaccinated, it said.
The eligible beneficiaries can choose the centre of their choice and book an appointment based on the slots available.
All citizens that are aged or will attain the age of 60 or more as on January 1, 2022, are eligible to register, in addition to all such citizens that are aged or will attain the age of 45 to 59 years as on January 1, 2022, and have any of specified 20 comorbidities.
Citizens can register through their mobile number, said the ministry as it also released a user manual to handhold the citizens to register and schedule an appointment for vaccination.
“Till the time of vaccination, all the records of registration and appointment can be edited/deleted by the person making the registration. Only when a person gets vaccinated, the record is locked and cannot be edited/deleted,” the document stated.
The Health Ministry said Monday 15,510 new cases were registered in a span of 24 hours.