BENGALURU: Technology works in most cases, but when it comes to registering for vaccinating millions of people who are aged under 45 on the CoWIN portal, it is proving to be a nightmare. On Friday, the government announced the introduction of an additional 4-digit security code to minimise data entry error. Nearly 5,44,33,405 registrations in the 18-45 age group were made through the portal on that day.
Venting out their frustration on social media forums, the younger folks aren’t necessarily amused by a new feature on CoWIN when even a slot booking is now almost impossible, especially in populous metros. Software engineers and coders are also coming to the rescue of the people wanting to get vaccinated, but are not able to find a slot.
“There is a huge disparity when it comes to finding slots in various parts of the country,” explains, Shyam Sunder, who has developed getjabs.in. With the help of the API of CoWIN, apisetu.gov.in, Sunder said that his portal sends email alerts to subscribers whenever a slot is available in a particular district. The next step of quickly logging in to CoWIN, filling their KYC details and registering rests upon the user. Sunder said these alerts are also delivered to users in various Telegram groups by other techies/portals to enable quick registration.
‘Vax supply still a cause for concern’
However , not only is the gap widening between demand and supply of vaccines, the time frame within which a vaccine s l o t i s booke d varies disproportionately. “In a place like Kashmir, the slot is available for as long as six hours. And then you have a city like Bengaluru where it gets filled within 20 seconds. So yes, a huge disparity does exist which is also dependent on the population of each district as well as the level of awareness,” he explained. Furthermore, the vaccine availability in some cities also remains a cause of concern, which has derailed the entire process.
In India, the use of scripts and codes for auto-booking of vaccine slots has been rubbished by CoWIN chief R S Sharma, who said in a tweet that the OTP generation is a vital step in the process that prevents any unethical means of vaccine booking. He added that the problem of vaccine supply still remains a concern and as such, there are limited slots available in some areas.
“There is no problem with the portal,” Sharma maintained. Various other platforms that are providing timely alerts to help vaccinate the 18-4 age group are under 45.in (which sends alerts via Telegram groups), Paytm (through a new feature), and an open source Google spreadsheet developed by techie Amit Agarwal, which sends email alerts.