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Not a (Co)WIN: App hampers vaccination drive

The District Medical Office (DMO) has sought an extension from the state government for the completion of the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive.

Published: 04th February 2021 07:08 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th February 2021 07:08 AM   |  A+A-

Covid vaccine, Vaccination

A health worker checks a syringe during a vaccination drive. (Photo | Meghana Sastry, EPS)

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Despite the first phase of Covid vaccination drive ending on February 15, district health authorities are struggling to register beneficiaries on the Co-WIN app due to technical glitches. Private clinics and hospitals in the state cry foul about the registration process; say they have been kept in the dark

The District Medical Office (DMO) has sought an extension from the state government for the completion of the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. As per the initial data collected by district health authorities, there are around 55,000 frontline workers in the district eligible for vaccination.

Till Tuesday, only 22,000 healthcare workers were vaccinated. According to officials, technical glitches on the Co-WIN — the Covid vaccine delivery management system — are obstructing the registration process of healthcare workers, especially those in the private sector. Also, according to officials, around 6,000 eligible beneficiaries couldn’t get vaccinated as they were either out of station or unfit. 

“We normally upload the list as excel sheets. Unfortunately, due to technical glitches, several beneficiaries have not registered. It is impossible to individually enter beneficiary details on the portal as we don’t have enough resources. Discrepancies in the data submitted by the beneficiaries are also another problem as the portal rejects errors. With error rectification and data entry, we have our hands full,” said an official.

Three-tier system recommended

According to experts, instead of a blanket vaccination drive, the authorities should have prioritised beneficiaries. “Targeted vaccination would have been more effective for healthcare workers. A large number of healthcare workers have already contracted the virus. The authorities concerned should have avoided them for now and focused on those who haven’t contracted the virus,” said S S Santhosh Kumar, deputy superintendent, Emergency Medicine, Medical College Hospital.According to him, the government should have opted  for a three-tier system for priority vaccination which includes healthcare workers (above 60 years) with comorbidities who haven’t contracted the virus, those who haven’t and those who have been affected by the virus.

Private sector unaware of process

Meanwhile, private hospitals in the state are dissatisfied with the vaccination drive. According to the Kerala Private Hospitals Association (KPHA), many private clinics and hospitals in the state are unaware of the registration process. There are around 1,500 private healthcare institutions in the state. “Many clinics and small hospitals in the private sector have not been sensitised about the vaccination drive. We are getting a lot of enquiries from the sector. Only the major healthcare institutions were briefed about the vaccination drive,” said Sheba Jacob, joint secretary of KPHA.  She added that private healthcare workers must be prioritised. “We have requested the authorities to start vaccination centres at private clinics as they are less crowded and can be operated safely,” said Sheba.

District Medical Officer K S Shinu promised that no healthcare worker will be denied vaccines. “We have started enrolling frontline workers in the district and various departments have started submitting their list of workers. We are planning to complete the first phase by February 15. The deadline set by the authorities is too early as Thiruvananthapuram has more beneficiaries compared to other districts,” he said.  

technical issues cause delay
According to officials, technical glitches on the Co-WIN — the Covid vaccine delivery management system — are obstructing the registration process of healthcare workers, especially those in the private sector. Around 6,000 eligible beneficiaries couldn’t get vaccinated as they were either out of station or unfit. 



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