India on Monday opened registration and started the second phase of COVID-19 vaccination that aims to cover people above 60 and those above 45 with specified co-morbid conditions.
After multiple complaints on the first day from beneficiaries who claimed that they were not able to register for vaccination, the Health Ministry issued a clarification stating, “Registration and booking for appointment for COVID vaccination is done through CoWIN portal cowin.gov.in. There is no CoWin App for beneficiary registration. The app on Play Store is for administrators only.”
“From March 1, the slots will be open from 9 a.m. till 3 p.m., and the appointments can be booked any time before 3 p.m., subject to availability,” the Ministry added.
The vaccine is being offered free at government COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs), while private centres are offering it at a capped price of ₹250 per dose.
The Ministry also said that the Centre is supplying two approved vaccines for use in India — Covishield and Covaxin — and added that beneficiaries will not have a choice on which vaccine will be administrated to them.
Two days before the second phase, the Central government put on hold the COVID vaccination process for upgrading the software CoWIN, which is used for registration of beneficiaries and data collection. “Co-WIN digital platform will be transitioning from Co-WIN1.0 to Co-WIN 2.0,” noted the Health Ministry.
To ramp up the vaccination capacity, around 10,000 private hospitals are empanelled under Ayushman Bharat PMJAY, more than 600 hospitals under Central Government Health Scheme and other private hospitals under State governments. Health Insurance Schemes can participate as CVCs.
“Private health facilities which will serve as government COVID vaccination centres have been directed to follow strict norms of due process, quality and safety, including integration with the national Co-WIN technology platform,” said a senior health official.
Beneficiaries are also allowed three methods of registration — advance self-registration, on-site registration and facilitated cohort registration.
The Centre will provide user names and passwords to the private facilities for effective use of Co-WIN 2.0 and, in addition, will also do mapping of private facilities with the nearest cold chain points to ensure seamless flow of vaccines.
The nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive was launched on January 16. Healthcare workers were given the first dose of the vaccine, while front line workers were included from February 2. So far, more than 1.5 crore vaccinations have been administered.