The registrations for coronavirus vaccines for all Indian citizens above the age of 18 will be open from 4 pm on Wednesday on the CoWIN portal, the central government said. The third phase of vaccination will begin on May 1.
Beneficiaries can register themselves using their mobile numbers on the portal ‘www.cowin.gov.in’. After registration is complete, the beneficiaries need to enter the details of their photo identification document, following which they will be provided with an appointment for receiving the shot. The details of the appointment will be sent on the registered mobile number.
On the day of the appointment, the beneficiaries would need to carry the appointment slip and the photo identification document they had used while registering.
On Wednesday morning, the government’s Twitter handle “MyGovIndia” said that apart from the CoWIN portal, registrations will also be allowed on the Arogya Setu and UMANG apps.
On the UMANG app, which is a repository of all government-related online services, a user is first asked to register for the vaccine. In the next step, the user has to enter his/her mobile number, following which a one-time password, or OTP will be sent to the number. Once the OTP is confirmed, the user has to enter details of the photo identification document, year of birth and gender.
The app does not yet allow users born after 1976 to proceed further in the process.
Vaccine shortage likely to increase waiting time
Even though the vaccination process rolls out on May 1, those in the age bracket of 18-45 might have to wait to get their shots. India was dealing with shortages for the 45+ bracket even before the new policy was announced, and new supplies aren’t expected until June or even beyond.
At least seven states – Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana – witnessed shortage of vaccines earlier this month. The burden is likely to increase with around 60 crore more citizens in the 18-45 age group becoming eligible for the shots in the third phase.
The governments of Assam, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have already announced that they were unlikely to begin vaccinating all adults from May 1 because of the unavailability of vaccines. Some of these states have alleged that the Centre had hijacked most of the stocks from manufacturers, leaving very little for them.
Under the new vaccination policy that will come into effect on May 1, 50% of the shots manufactured will be earmarked for the Centre. This quota will be used to inoculate priority groups who were already eligible for the shots. So, only half of the vaccines manufactured from May 1 will have to be used to accommodate the 60 crore new beneficiaries.
Even if the projected ramped up capacity of manufacturers is taken into account, Serum Institute is expected to produce 10 crore doses of Covishield, Bharat Biotech will churn out one crore doses of Covaxin and Dr Reddy’s will make 40 lakh vials of Sputnik V by the month of June, according to The Times of India.
This would not even cover the 40 crore people in the priority groups that the government had hoped to cover by August. The figure does not even take into account the new beneficiaries.
So far, more than 14.53 crore shots have been administered, while 2.38 crore beneficiaries have received both their doses, according to government data.