BENGALURU: As access to Covid-19 vaccines remains difficult, with people not finding slots on the CoWIN portal and not knowing where to walk in for jabs without prior registration, many are resorting to using influence and their connections to get their way.
Be it through government officials, contacts in hospitals or private establishments conducting drives, those looking to get vaccinated are finding ways to avoid going through the regular process of getting the vaccine, which some consider a hassle.
Suresh Ramegowda, a resident of Hebbagodi, said that he had to go through an IAS officer known to him to get the vaccine shot on Huskur Road.
“A drive, organized by a fruit market association, was going on for front line workers and those in essential services, but I managed to get the jab there. Government centres here have just about 50 vaccine doses, while hundreds queue up for them. I have got the vaccination done for nearly 80 people who don’t have contacts or influence, including people coming from other states, by getting them registered as essential workers. For the past 10 days, there have been no vaccine stocks in government centres,” Ramegowda said.
A resident of Shantalanagar and her husband, who did not want to be named, said that she got the vaccine at a private hospital where a prominent doctor’s relative is their friend. “Everyone in residents’ and citizens’ groups are hunting for jabs and, when it comes to booking on CoWIN, it is a game of the fastest fingers first. We wanted to avoid going through this trouble and got it done through a known source for the 45-plus age group,” she said.
Mohammed Thwaeb and his wife spent days and nights trying to book slots for the vaccine and found that all of them were always booked. They visited St Philomena’s Hospital, but could not get the jab as they were unable to register on CoWIN. Their friend, a cafe owner, was organising a vaccine drive for his employees in collaboration with a private hospital on Miller’s Road. “We got the vaccine through the employee quota in the 18-44 age group. We also got the vaccination done for the watchmen in our area and our maid,” Thwaeb said.
Varun Salaria and his wife had a similar experience on CoWIN. They tried for many weeks and, as a last resort, contacted a relative working in a private hospital in Whitefield, to get both doses of the vaccine. “We felt bad as it is not fair to jump the queue and get the jab, but then, we were not getting slots on CoWIN. My wife works in a bank, and we have a two-year old child and aged parents living with us, which is why getting the vaccine was important,” Varun said.