Coronavirus vaccination in India: With the next phase of COVID-19 vaccination having begun for people aged above 60 years, or those above 45 years having comorbidities, the government has introduced necessary changes to the system that was in place during the immunisation of healthcare and frontline workers. The walk-in vaccinations have begun since Monday, but it is expected to take another week or so before the system settles for the around 26 crore beneficiaries who are included in this phase. For the second phase, the government has launched a second version of the CoWIN app so that users can register themselves for the vaccination. However, it is likely that the app could be slow as lakhs of beneficiaries would try to register themselves.
The beneficiaries would be able to register using the CoWIN app, which is available on the various app stores, as well as the dedicated website for CoWIN. For the registration, users would have to key in their Aadhaar number, mobile number or any government identification number. After registration, the user would be able to see the nearest vaccine session sites with the help of the GPS feature integrated in the updated CoWIN app. The beneficiaries would also be able to choose the centre as well as the site of their choice. Walk-in vaccinations are also permitted in this phase. Centres have been asked to dedicate 40% of the vaccine doses for pre-registered users, while 60% of the doses are meant for walk-ins, but this is allowed to be changed centre to centre.
Moreover, while the government hospitals would provide free vaccination, private hospitals would be allowed to charge up to Rs 250 for one dose, meaning a beneficiary would have to pay up to Rs 500 for a completed vaccination regime.
Private hospitals empanelled under PM-JAY and CGHS are currently allowed to take part in the vaccination drive, but the central government is being urged to also allow charitable hospitals to participate.
When the beneficiaries register for the vaccine on the CoWIN app, they would not be informed which vaccine the centre is administering, as that information would be available at the respective centres. However, once the beneficiaries have registered on the app, they would not be able to change the centre.
Among comorbidities, the Centre has included diabetes of over 10 years or with complications and hypertension with treatment, HIV infection, hospitalisation due to heart failure in the last one year, hospitalisation caused by severe respiratory disease in last two years, people with kidney, heart, liver or haematopoietic stem cell transplant and end-stage kidney disease with dialysis among others. As many as 20 comorbidities have been listed by the government.
Patients suffering from only hypertension or only diabetes would not be eligible, however. Similarly, people with disabilities only having blindness or deafness would not be eligible, but those having both would be eligible.