As India began its second phase of vaccination with senior citizens, aged above 60, and those with co-morbidities in the age group of 45 to 59 on Monday (March 1), the Co-WIN app and portal meant for registration for the COVID-19 vaccine encountered several glitches.
Several users reported unavailability of slots, while many encountered a glitch regarding one-time password (OTP) verification.
After people took to social media to register their complaints about the app, the Health Ministry clarified that the Co-WIN app was not for end-users, but only for administrators.
The beneficiaries need to register themselves for the vaccine via its web portal — www.cowin.gov.in — or through other applications such as Arogya Setu.
The Centre tweeted from its citizen engagement platform – MyGovIndia: “If you are eligible for the vaccination, register yourself at cowin.gov.in.”
Around 27 crore people, including around 10 crore above 60, are expected to be covered in this phase of inoculation, which was flagged off with Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself getting a jab at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.
Way to go, India! More than 1 Million Registrations on Co-WIN Till 1 PM!If you are eligible for #COVID19 vaccine, then register yourself at https://t.co/G4e2WXWB9XRemember, there is NO #CoWIN App for beneficiary registration. The App on Play Store is for administrators only.— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 1, 2021
However, people complained about the unavailability of the slots and the glitches they experienced while registration.
According to many users, the Co-WIN app, which has only been launched for Android now, is not sending the OTP during the first step of verification. Even if the government reasons that the app is not meant for regular citizens, the verification step only requires a phone number, which anyone can have.
As the Co-WIN app stopped working, even the administrators — hospitals — resorted to unprecedented measures.
In Mumbai, Dr R N Cooper Municipal General Hospital has stopped vaccination for the day.
Multiple other vaccination centres, too, faced issues with the app. In Chennai, authorities at Apollo Hospitals stated that they were working things out manually and coordinating with the government. In Bengaluru, at some places, vaccine recipients had to wait for over an hour due to the technical glitch.
The first phase of the vaccination drive began on January 16, with the Centre targeting inoculation of around three crore healthcare and frontline workers.
India has so far approved two vaccines for emergency use — AstraZeneca and Oxford University’s Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
A subject expert committee is set to consider Russia's Sputnik V, which has also applied for emergency use, on Monday. Sputnik V has an efficacy rate of 91.6 per cent, higher than Covishield's 70 per cent.