The vaccination drive has been called off in Maharashtra till January 18 (Monday) due to technical glitches in Co-WIN application, public health minister Rajesh Tope announced late on Saturday. The app has been created by the Centre for managing registration for the inoculation. Nationwide inoculation drive for coronavirus began in the morning.
"While implementing the Covid-19 vaccination drive today, technical problems were noticed in the Co-WIN app. Efforts are being made by the central government to address the problem. A digital registration is mandatory when vaccinating the jabs. The government had allowed offline registration today due to a technical problem. However, the government has directed that all further entries be made through the app. In view of this, Covid-19 vaccination has been postponed for two days in Mumbai on Sunday (January 17) and Monday (January 18). Vaccination will resume as soon as the Co-WIN app resumes," Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said in a statement.
"Not just in Maharashtra, everywhere in the country this app created problems in the execution of vaccination drive. We have decided to suspend the vaccination for the next two days," Tope was quoted as saying by news agency PTI. "On January 8, when dry run was conducted, and again today I specifically pointed out problems with the Co-Win app and Union Minister Harsh Vardhan said he will look into it," the minister said.
On the first day of the drive, of 4,000 healthcare workers scheduled for vaccination at nine centres in the city, only 1,926 were administered the jab, the BMC data showed. The highest 289 healthcare workers were given vaccines at Rajawadi hospital, followed by 266 at Bhabha hospital, and 262 at Cooper hospital which was also part of the nationwide live launch of the drive by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Several doctors were administered Covid-19 vaccine in Mumbai on Saturday, with many of them saying that they wanted to dispel fear about the inoculation by volunteering to take the first doses. While BMC officials initially said that the inoculation drive proceeded smoothly on day one, some beneficiaries complained that they received intimation only hours before the drive began.
At the civic-run Sion hospital and medical college, Dean Mohan Joshi was the first beneficiary, followed by 42 others including heads of department and associate professors. The vaccine is safe, Joshi said, adding that all healthcare workers must take it so that they are protected from the infection as they go about their work.
"It is a historic day in my life," he said. His colleague Dr Nilkanth Awad, from the respiratory medicine department, said vaccination will help end the pandemic, but social distancing and wearing masks will have to continue alongside for optimum results.