A health worker uploads her details on an app during the dry run of COVID-19 vaccination in Lucknow (PTI)
PUNE: The vaccination dry runs in four Maharashtra districts on Saturday were largely problem-free except for one hitch: spotty internet connectivity. Three sites from four districts - Pune, Jalna, Nandurbar and Nagpur - were picked for the drills, part of a nationwide preparedness assessment before the actual vaccination drives later this year.
A key component of Covid-19 vaccination will be the Co-Win app, onto which details of beneficiaries and dosages have to be uploaded. The system needs a steady internet connection. The district administration of Nandurpar said they have now sought permission for "offline vaccinations". Pune authorities said they have asked for more infrastructure to improve their link.
On Saturday, 25 "practice" beneficiaries were asked to arrive at each site via SMS. One beneficiary in Pune "refused" to take the shot while the Nandurbar and Nagpur sites each had one person not turning up. The Jalna centre saw full participation.
Health officials in Pune said there was a need for taluka-level vaccination sites to plug gaps in the internet connectivity. During an address before the dry runs, state health minister Rajesh Tope said the state was fully prepared for the real vaccination drives.
In Nagpur, deputy director of health services Sanjay Jaiswal said the dry run gave them the confidence that 25 people can be vaccinated at one centre within two hours. The drills, he said, also brought up a few technical glitches such as wrong phone numbers and a missing option to change time slots if a person cannot make it to a site.