Confusion and long queues: Slot booking disrupts Pune’s vaccination drive

Confusion over COVID-19 vaccination drive in Pune is on display from past few days
Confusion and long queues: Slot booking disrupts Pune’s vaccination drive
COVID-19 vaccination drive is marred by confusion in PuneThe Bridge Chronicle

Pune: India’s move to permit all adults to get vaccinated already began with confusion in many cities, many people between the ages of 18 and 45 are still unable to book slots. Similar is the case in Pune, one of the badly hit cities in the country.

Confusion over COVID-19 vaccination drive in Pune is on display from past few days as people wait to get vaccinated with glitches in scheduling appointments and finding empty slots.

The shortage of COVID-19 vaccines is hit by the third phase of the vaccination drive that started on May 1. The central government, in April, declared to begin the drive for those above 18 years of age, however, thousands of citizens are still running to grab a slot for their first dose. The irregular and acute shortage supply of vaccine doses has impacted the entire inoculation drive and to add to this is a confusion of slot booking.

A number of people in Pune are finding it difficult to book the slots. Despite the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is regularly displaying the appointment and slot booking information on their official Twitter handle, many people are complaining about the slot booking.

As the online appointments are compulsory, the vaccination drive in the city isn’t functioning normally amid lack of slots. Only two vaccination centres are available for those between the 18-44 age group who want to receive the first jab. Many residents in the city complained that those who have ‘contacts’ in the health department of the civic body get the tipoff about the opening of slots. Officials at vaccination centres have also stated that many people are visiting the centres without registration and asking for entry quoting references of authorities.

Sagar Patil (30), a resident of Kothrud, said that he has a lot of confusion about the timings of the opening of slots for above 18. “PMC had made the timetable public in advance so that people can book the slots with ease but still I am facing the issue. The moment when I log in, the slots are filled in seconds. Are bots using it?”

Sharing his agony, Karve Nagar resident Akshay Salunkhe said that he and his family members have been constantly checking the COWIN portal as well as Aarogya Setu for past few days but are unable to find a slot. “People who have contacts in PMC and health departments can easily book the appointment. How is this possible? If ‘contacts’ within the PMC or other sources matter a lot, why there is a use of COWIN or other platforms. We all share the same risk of COVID-19 infection. Thus, there should be enough transparency in the process.

Meanwhile, with a drop in fresh cases, Pune city on Monday witnessed 1,165 new infections taking the city’s progressive tally to 4,47,729 while, 51 people lost their lives amid the contagion. On the positive front, 4,010 patients were fully recovered taking the progressive count of total recoveries to 4,09,484 in the city.

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