No win with CoWIN: COVID-19 vaccine slots snapped up in minutes after booking opens
No win with CoWIN: COVID-19 vaccine slots snapped up in minutes after booking opens

Mumbai: Booking a vaccination slot on the CoWin portal has now become the biggest task for beneficiaries ready and willing to take their first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine. According to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, every day, slot booking opens at 7.30pm in the evening for all beneficiaries, only to close in the next five minutes, as the fastest fingers seem to bag the coveted spots in that time. This is the story of many beneficiaries in the 18-44 years category. They have been trying to do so from Day 1 without any luck. However, those beneficiaries due for their second dose can walk in to the vaccine centres for the purpose. Civic officials said that in view of the limited stocks currently they were limiting the number of beneficiaries. Another complaint is that even if a slot is bagged, the appointment gets cancelled.

Anjalee Singh, a resident of Navy Nagar, said she had registered herself on April 28, when it was officially announced that registration had been opened for all adults. But for three days now, she has been trying to book a slot for vaccination and every single time, bookings at all five centres are gone in five minutes.

“I don't understand this. First, when the vaccine drive was thrown open, we were not eligible. But now, when we are, we are unable to find a slot. It seems to be 'first come, first serve basis', as we have to wait for booking to open and when it starts, there is a delay in getting the OTP and by the time we select the centre, it is booked. If this continues, I don't think I will get an appointment this week,” she said.

Another beneficiary complained that there was no session available for at least a week at any of the centres and some centres are already booked before time. “These bookings are worse than Railways Tatkal bookings. I have been trying for the last 3 days but no luck. The entire process is a mess. As per the probability of vaccines available, bookings should be open for any number of days in future,” said Rajesh Chavan, a lawyer.

Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said that not everyone gets a chance to book a slot for vaccination, as currently, the civic body has limited stock, so only a limited number of beneficiaries can be inoculated at vaccine centres. “I have learnt that many beneficiaries are facing problems in booking the vaccine slot, but once we get adequate stock, it will become easier for all to book a slot. Currently, it depends on the luck of the beneficiaries, whether they manage to get a slot in their first attempt,” he said.

Meanwhile, social media users said they could log in but could not find any nearby hospital offering vaccines to people above the age of 18 years. Only old data of hospitals offering vaccination to people above the age of 45 years was on display. “Easier to apply for a US Visa, finance a master’s degree through a loan, get a Visa, and go to America and get a Pfizer/Moderna Vaccination than booking a vaccination slot at Cooper Hospital,” tweeted @rutvikpandit.

“I’m unable to book an appointment in Mumbai for my parents despite their age being above 45. The error shown is that the min age requirement is 45. Thr are no other members added in the main list. My parents have not been able to get vaccinated since a month,” tweeted @parikhkunal.

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