With the CoWin application crashing, technical glitches not allowing to book slots for the second dose, confirmed appointments cancelled, citizens are questioning the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) Covid-19 vaccination plan. This has left many anxious and fearing 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 at 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 on Thursday made it mandatory for citizens wishing to get vaccinated (both doses) to get appointment slots on the CoWin portal. In a bid to control the crowd and reduce waiting time for citizens, BMC discontinued the walk-in facility for all age groups.
Still hoping to get help, many senior citizens rush to vaccination centres after failing to get appointment slots booked online. “I took the first vaccine jab on March 25, don’t know what CoWin is and what to do about it. The first dose was a walk-in and very smooth process. Now that we have to book an appointment. We are unable to do so as it shows appointment slots not available. Time is running out and there seems to be nobody who can resolve the issue," said Sagunaben Desai, a resident of Kandivali.
Another person facing the same difficulty, Karthik Pimple (69) said: "Whenever I try to book an appointment, there seems to be an error and then it says not available. It's not that the slots are not available. But there is a technical glitch that restricts me from booking the appointment slots and there is nothing I can do. BMC ward office gave me a helpline number which is either busy or there is no response.”
BMC's Twitter handle is flooded with queries from worried people who are looking forward to getting their aged parents with comorbidities asking BMC how and what can they do to get their parents inoculated and why are they not getting pre-booking slots online.
The BMC on the other hand said it is looking to set up booths to help senior citizens and those without access to technology for booking appointments slots. Also, some corporators are helping senior citizens book an appointment, but they said that instances of cancellation are very high. "Yes, we have received many complaints about issues like this and the technical glitch in CoWin app too. We will soon work out things and set up helpdesk/ booths to help people who have no resources or are unable to book slots online." said a senior BMC official.
The inadequate and irregular supply of vaccine to the city has hit the vaccination drive bad. Mumbai currently has 175 vaccination centres, of which 74 are private, 81 BMC-run and 20 by the state / central government.