Mumbai: 60-plus folks can walk in for jab from May 17-19

The BMC on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines tweaking its earlier vaccination guidelines. The civic body will allow the walking facility for beneficiaries above 60 years due for their second dose of 'Covaxin' and 'Covishield' and those differently-abled for three days (from May 17 to May 19), while vaccination for the 18-44 age group has been suspended.

The move comes after many senior citizens unable to book an online slot for vaccination expressed their fear of missing their second dose of vaccine. "We have directed ward officials and medical officers of Health (MoH) to allow walk-in vaccination for those who are 60 years and above and differently-abled who are due for their second dose. This is because we received requests about many senior citizens and differently-abled people unable to book online slots," said Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner (Health).

With the CoWin application crashing and technical glitches not allowing to book slots for the second dose, confirmed appointments cancelled, citizens were questioning the BMC's Covid-19 vaccination plan. Many fear that they might miss out on their second dose as they fail to book an online slot for the second dose. While there is no response on the Central Helpline number of the CoWin app, there is no helpdesk in the city for resolving this issue, whereas walk-ins have been discontinued making it difficult for the citizens to get their problem solved.

The BMC last Thursday made it mandatory for citizens to book the first and second vaccination slots via CoWin. To control crowds and reduce waiting time, BMC discontinued walk-ins for all age groups. However, to make it easy for senior citizens and differently-abled, the civic body tweaked its old guidelines and allowed walk-ins for three days.

The civic body's notification further mentioned that on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, all eligible beneficiaries must book their slots using the CoWIN portal only and that on-the-spot registration will not be permitted on these days. The Covid Vaccination centres (CVC) will remain closed on Sundays.

The civic body also directed that all the CVCs mandatorily update their respective timings and slots on the CoWIN portal with the number of vaccine doses left with them. "Each vaccination centre must only administer 100 doses per day, per booth," the notification stated.

Meanwhile, the vaccination drive for the 18-44 age group will remain suspended across Maharashtra amid a shortage of vaccine stock. The state government has also decided to divert Covaxin doses that were purchased for vaccinating the 18-44 age group people, towards the completion of second doses of the 45 to 59 age group beneficiaries.

In Mumbai too the vaccination for the 18-44 age group has been suspended for now. The civic body also informed via a tweet: "Until any further orders vaccination for 18 to 44-year-olds is suspended. We regret the inconvenience caused to our young Mumbaikars. Slots for 45+s shall open after 9 PM tonight for booking to get vaccinated tomorrow. No walk-ins allowed".

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