It was already afternoon when Uttar Pradesh’s joint commissioner of police Naveen Arora received an SMS recently, informing him that his vaccination shot was scheduled for the morning at a hospital in Lucknow. Arora had to miss his chance under the drive for frontline workers this time.
In Kolkata, field immunisation worker Tinku Banerjee could get her second dose of Covishield only after her name was included in the list via the “add beneficiary” feature. An anxious Banerjee, who got her first dose on January 18, rushed to a primary health centre on her own on February 21 when she did not receive any intimation on her Co-WIN app for the second dose.
Like Arora and Banerjee, who are being inoculated in the second phase of the vaccination drive for frontline Covid workers, many across the country have faced problems as complaints about glitches in the Co-WIN app pour in — from SMS alerts not reaching on time, messages reaching wrong beneficiaries, names not appearing on lists to duplication of names, the portal slowing down, and data mismatch.
“In the absence of prior communication, we sent our officers to vaccination centres to look for names mentioned in the lists. These officers then called those whose names figured in the list and asked them to get vaccinated as add-on beneficiaries,” said Arora, who is also the nodal officer for vaccination of police personnel in Lucknow.
“There is a special button in the portal that allows you to send SMSes to all those getting the jab. But, many a times, the SMS would not reach many of them,” said a senior health officer of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palika.
Bihar special secretary, health, Manoj Kumar said SMSes reaching late was leading to beneficiaries not reaching session sites on time.
“For frontline workers who need to travel long distances, delay is causing a major problem,” said Dr Dhiraj Pathak, medical officer at Sonapur district hospital in Assam.
“The software is sending messages to recipients who are not due for the second dose, while those who need them are being missed out, causing confusion,” said Punjab Covid nodal officer Dr
. Health officers in Bihar too have complained of duplication of names.
“In many cases, names of beneficiaries were registered more than once, leading to confusion,” said an IT official posted at one of the session sites in Jharkhand.
too, officials said duplication of names is an issue and the process of deletion is on.
Beneficiaries in many states have complained of names not figuring in the list despite making entries.
“Names of some beneficiaries who took the first dose did not appear in the portal when they returned for the second dose,” said
joint director of public health Dr Vinay Kumar.
Goa Indian Medical Association president Dr Vinayak Buvaji said there have been instances where healthcare workers were not enlisted as beneficiaries despite submitting data through appropriate channels.
Dr N S Khatri, deputy chief medical superintendent of Government Doon Medical College in Dehradun, was told that he will get the dose on day one of the launch of the countrywide inoculation drive on January 16. But his name didn’t appear in the beneficiary details. It wasn’t there on day-two as well. He then had to get himself vaccinated by manual registration. “This is happening with many beneficiaries,” said Dr Khatri.
Senior health officials in Pune too said many names had to be re-registered.
Faced with this, many states, like Kerala and
, have now gone offline and have begun contacting beneficiaries rather than depending on SMSes. In many states, beneficiaries are using the “add-on” option.
An official in Maharashtra, however, said the Centre denied state health minister Rajesh Tope’s request to allow “manual enrolment”.
States have also complained of slow response and data mismatch.
While Punjab officials said the software stops responding very frequently, affecting the pace of immunisation, Karnataka said when the vaccination drive began on January 16 in Bengaluru, the portal failed to schedule the list as the server crashed.
In Odisha, officials complained of backlog not getting uploaded, forcing them to use Google Sheets to figure out the registered beneficiaries and schedule sessions.
Karnataka officials said another problem was that the algorithm did not work according to the Co-WIN management team at municipal corporation levels.
Health officials in Haryana were hit by random picks by the software to send SMSes. “There have been cases of persons at far off places getting little time to reach the vaccination sites,” said an official.
Glitches in automatically selecting beneficiaries and synchronisation between Co-WIN dashboard and devices being used at vaccination sites have been reported from MPtoo. Internet connectivity remained a problem in very remote areas in states like Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
( With inputs from Mumbai, Bhubaneshwar, Lucknow, Kochi, Goa, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Patna, Guwahati, Jaipur, Dehradoon, Chandigarh and Bhopal)