Old age people in India are struggling to register for Covid vaccine due to technological constraints

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Covid vaccine has been arrived and governments are scheduling the vaccination program according to the age of people. Meanwhile India has completed its first vaccination program for frontline warriors and health workers and now is concentrating on old age people. Covid vaccine got opened for the older adults in India from 1st March and since then there are some news of people struggling with the technology. The drive started specifically for the senior citizens and those above 45 years of age. People over the age group of 60 are most at risk from Covid 19 waves and requires vaccination immediately, but because most of old age people are unable to access internet, they are feeling left out of services.

The Union Health Ministry informed people to register themselves on site for getting vaccinated. The ministry said that once the person is registered on site in advance, they can walk into any identified centres or can also get registered in Hospital for the vaccination. People can register on CoWIN 2.0 portal and the Arogya Setu application. The application is launched by the Indian administration last year in 2020 for contact tracing, syndromic mapping and self-assessment. It is a digital service developed by the National Informatics Centre under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. The application will then list government and private hospitals turned Covid vaccination Centre along with date and time slots. Through this information, people can book their appointment and can register for the vaccination.

65 years old Mrs. Pushpa, went private hospital for self-registration on 1st March. She said, “I went hospital for registration but I was told that server is not working. And repeatedly second day also I couldn’t get myself register because of the same reason.“ Same case is of Mr. Ram, who went for the registration but due to server, hospital staff was unable to get him registered. He said, “I collected my all the required documents for the registration but hospital staff told me to come next day due to the technical issue. I travelled 2 hours from my place because this vaccination Centre was the closest one, now I have no choice but to travel again.“

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The recipients should have following documents for the registration. Administration is asking for a Photo ID that should contain date of birth, Aadhar Card, Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), photo ID card specifically in the case of online registration, certificate of co-morbidity for the citizens aged between 45 to 59 years and which has to be signed by a registered medical practitioner, employment certificate or an official identity card. During the process, the target groups will be assembled with the help of Accredited Social Health Activists, Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives, Panchayati Raj representatives and Women’s Self-Help Groups. Under these groups, all the registered people will get a QR code based provisional (first dose) and final (second dose) certificates, that can be downloaded through the link given on the SMS or people can also download it at vaccination centres, informed by the health ministry.    

Mr. Dev Singh and Mrs. Shanti Singh are also among those who wants to get registered as soon as possible but are struggling with the process. The couple lives alone and are quite unfamiliar with the technology. They have learned the whole process of registration but finding it difficult to start. Mrs. Shanti said, “We were very relieved when we heard about the vaccine and the whole vaccination program schedule. But now this registration process is putting us in a difficult situation. We are not familiar with technology and nor with the internet service properly. We don’t have a smartphone.“ Mr. Dev said, “We are aware about the Cyber café service but we don’t want to get into any sort of fraud. Because nowadays we hear lot of such news.’ Both of them are being sceptical for going to cyber café and to get themselves registered. According to Mr. Purushottam, there has to be some assistance provided through administration while doing registration as there are many like us who are uncomfortable and unfamiliar with the technology.“

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Although government hospitals are providing free service at vaccination centres but private hospitals are receiving more entries comparatively. As per the information given, 69 per cent of people are preferring private hospitals and 31 per cent are going to government centres. Observing the situation, experts say, people are prioritizing the services and convenience instead of hospital bills.

According to the statistics provided by the vaccination report, old age people are actively participating in vaccination program and in big number compare to the frontline workers. Vaccination program started on 16th January in India scheduled its first drive for frontline health care workers and recorded 3,403 entries on its first day. Whereas second drive for old aged people recorded 5,176 entries on its first day.

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Shefali Ranawat is an Eat News correspondent in India. She want to be the voice of people. Also, she aim to be a war correspondent.


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