Citizen, demand focus in next vaccination phase: walk-in shots, private facilities too

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Beneficiaries with associated comorbidities will have to produce a medical prescription on the day of the vaccination.

Those who get their Covid-19 shots in the next phase of vaccination will be able to choose between registering online and walking into a designated inoculation centre, the head of the committee directing the exercise said on Thursday.

Self-registration for beneficiaries above the age of 60, and those who are older than 45 and have associated comorbidities, will begin on March 1, R S Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority and chairperson of the empowered committee for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine, told The Indian Express.

The next phase of vaccination, aimed at protecting 27 crore Indians from the novel coronavirus infection, will be based on a “citizen-centric model”, Sharma said.

Beneficiaries with associated comorbidities will have to produce a medical prescription on the day of the vaccination. “If you are 60 years and above no questions will be asked. Less than 45 years, will not have the option to register. For those between 45-60 years, a question will be asked if the beneficiary is comorbid or not; the eligible beneficiary will have to say yes. You will have to take [along] a prescription at the time of vaccination, the photo will be captured and uploaded to the system,” Sharma said.

The Co-Win app – the government’s digital platform to manage the vaccination exercise – will give those who register the option of getting vaccinated at a government facility or at one of the 12,000 private healthcare facilities empanelled under PMJAY and CGHS, Sharma said.

“We cannot make a train reservation unless we know when the train is going to start. Similarly, we are populating the hospital data which will be providing the services and the timetable. That is important. This is being filled up. People will be able to do self-registration from March 1,” he said. The numbers of walk-in facilities and their identification has been left to the states, Sharma said.

“Besides the online system, we will also have a walk-in [system]. This has been left to the states. They will decide which is a walk-in vaccination site. They can decide the proportion between the online and the walk-in centres. States will have the flexibility to do an appointment or [vaccinate] by walk-in.” Beneficiaries can register themselves for vaccination on any of several platforms. “It will be a citizen-centric model, which means people will choose the time and place of vaccination. This will be facilitated through the online booking process. This will be inclusive: the beneficiary can book through the Aarogya Setu app, IVRS, the common service centre, and through the website of the Co-Win app. You can also call a helpline number (for self-registration),” Sharma said.

Several documents will work as photo IDs, and those who do not own a smartphone will be able to use any other phone to receive the SMS on the vaccination schedule.

Doses given at private hospitals will also be tracked on Co-Win, Sharma said. “Whatever doses will be supplied to private hospitals, the record and information of each vaccination, will be registered on the system. This is necessary because we have to keep track of the second dose… The details of who has been vaccinated by whom, the place and time, will be made available; on that basis, a digital certificate will be issued,” he said.

Vaccination in the coming phase will be based on a demand-driven system to ensure that all slots are utilised, Sharma said.

“In the first phase, we had a model where beneficiary data was populated already and we asked them to come on a particular date. There might be many reasons why some did not turn up. So we were not able to utilise the slots…,” he said. “[We have now moved] from a supply-driven to a demand-driven system.”

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