ERNAKULAM: Those worried over not knowing how to register online for Covid vaccination have some help, at least in Muvattupuzha. The first-year students of Government Vocational Higher Secondary School, East Marady, have set up vaccine registration helpdesks. “Students with the school’s NSS unit have helped around 100 people with registration till now,” said Sameer Siddiqui, the NSS programme officer of the school. The programme is undertaken under the Sneha Sanjeevani Scheme of the state NSS cell, he said.
Students having smartphones and laptops with high-quality internet access because of virtual classes have been a blessing. Once trained, they began by getting those above 45 in their families registered on the CoWIN website, said Sameer. “Now we are helping local people with the registration,” said Ananya Vinod, a student. They talk to beneficiaries directly or over the phone. “We are mostly helping senior citizens, those without internet access, the physically challenged and the technologically challenged,” she said.
Initially, they had to convince people to get themselves registered. “Many had apprehensions regarding the vaccine,” she said.According to Dhanuraj P T, another volunteer, working on the helpdesk brought to light many things. “We realised many people, even highly educated ones, didn’t know a thing when it came to smartphones. Some didn’t even know how to retrieve the OTP,” he said.
The students meet the visually challenged and the hearing impaired personally. “But of late, we have been facing some problems. Registrations are happening but we are unable to locate nearby hospitals. The government needs to do something about that,” said Dhanuraj. The students also have come up with a brochure with a contact number for those seeking help.
Sameer said all 38 students have been given a target to register 10 people per day. “They usually can. But on some days, they manage only four or five. But it is a continuous process,” he added. Those needing help to register for Covid vaccine can call 9447220332. Their service is free.