Phase 2 of COVID-19 vaccination drive: Narendra Modi takes first dose of Covaxin; CoWin glitches, delays mark rollout
India's coronavirus case count went past 1.11 crore on Monday with 15,510 new infections, while the active cases registered an increase for the fifth consecutive day
The second phase of India's coronavirus vaccination drive, expanded to cover senior citizens and people above the age of 45 suffering from co-morbidities, got underway today (Monday, 1 March).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the first dose of indigenously developed Coxavin at AIIMS in Delhi and appealed to all those who are eligible to get inoculated.
Phase 1 of the vaccination drive saw healthcare personnel and frontline workers being inoculated.
Amid reports of delays, glitches and some complaining of troubles while registering on day 1 of the vaccination drive's second phase, the Union health ministry in the afternoon clarified that the Co-WIN app on Play Store is meant for use only by the administrators.
Registration and booking for an appointment for vaccination has to be done through the portal www.cowin.gov.in, it said.
Over one million citizens have registered themselves on the Co-WIN portal till 1 pm on Monday, the ministry said.
This, as India's coronavirus case count went past 1.11 crore on Monday with 15,510 new infections, while the active cases registered an increase for the fifth consecutive day. Six states —Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat —have shown a surge in new COVID-19 cases, and contributed 87.25 percent of the fresh infections, the ministry said.
Setting the pace for the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive, the prime minister reached the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi early on Monday morning and was administered Bharat Biotech's COVAXIN by nurse P Niveda, who hails from Puducherry. Another nurse, Rosamma Anil, from Kerala also assisted in the process.
Took my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at AIIMS.
Remarkable how our doctors and scientists have worked in quick time to strengthen the global fight against COVID-19 .
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 1, 2021
Modi taking an indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine should remove all doubts that people have about its side-effects, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said, underlining no death has occurred till now due to anti- Coronavirus vaccination in the country.
By taking the indigenously developed Covaxin, the prime minister has effectively ended any spread of misinformation and it would also eliminate hesitancy from the minds of people about the vaccine, he said.
Vardhan said that if any death occurs a few days after receiving the jab, it cannot be linked to vaccination because each such death is being scientifically probed.
The minister through a tweet said that he would take the shot on Tuesday and appealed to all those aged 60 and above and aged 45 and above having specified co-morbidities to immediately take the vaccine.
The vaccine manufacturer and AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria too echoed similar sentiments.
"We thank the Hon'ble Prime Minister Sh. Narendra Modi for taking the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine himself and are deeply appreciative of the gesture. This has set a powerful example for all Indians to follow, which will go a long way in reducing vaccine hesitancy and building confidence in immunisation against the ongoing pandemic," Bharat Biotech International CMD Krishna Ella said in a statement.
"We urge all fellow citizens to not hesitate from taking part in the COVID-19 immunisation programme so that the country can bring an end to this public health crisis,"Ella said.
The AIIMS director also said that Modi took the shot at around 6.30 am after which he was kept under observation for half-and-hour as per protocol, after which he left. "He is fine after taking the vaccine," Guleria said.
Several other prominent leaders including Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu, Home Minister Amit Shah, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and NCP chief Sharad Pawar also received the first dose of COVID vaccine on Monday.
Got my jab. For the curious, it was #Covaxin.
Felt secure, will travel safely. pic.twitter.com/8PL7PZMEsf
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) March 1, 2021
The Bihar chief minister reaffirmed his government's decision to provide the jabs free of cost, including at private facilities.
"All citizens over 60 years of age or those younger but with comorbidities shall be accorded priority. Vaccines will be
provided free of cost to all. The state will bear the expenses, in case of those who get the jabs at any of the designated private hospitals," he said.
He also said arrangements have been made at the state-run super specialty hospital for inoculation of all members of the state legislature.
Free vaccination for COVID-19 was one of the promises made by the ruling NDA in the run-up to the recent elections in the state and a proposal to the effect received the cabinet nod upon formation of the new government in November.
Governors Kalraj Mishra of Rajasthan and Banwarilal Purohit of Tamil Nadu also received the shot, as did Union minister Jitendra Singh.
As the registration on www.cowin.gov.in opened up at 9 am on Monday, people took to social media to flag glitches in the registration system.
In Rajasthan, senior citizens turned up with enthusiasm for the vaccination drive but problems like delay in registration were encountered during the initial hours. At some centres including the one at Jaipuria hospital in Jaipur, people had to wait for one to two hours before getting the shot while technical glitches delayed the drive at a few places including six sites in the super specialty block of the new medical college hospital in Kota, reported news agency PTI.
While the vaccination is free at government hospitals, it costs Rs 250 per dose in private hospitals as fixed by the government.
At several places in Delhi, people had started gathering at the facilities at 9 am although booking for the first dose slot on the CO-WIN portal was scheduled to start at noon on Monday. Officials had on Sunday said from Tuesday onwards, the booking will be open from 9 amto 3 pm.
Hassles in online registration was a common complaint from the people. Prasoon Narain Agarwal (70) said he tried registering through the CO-WIN portal, but did not receive any intimation about the location of the hospital. "That is why I was forced to come here physically because this is the nearest hospital. I have been standing in queue for about an hour but haven't been able to figure out what to do," the Jasola-based businessman told news agency PTI.
Arun Kumar Gupta (66), a retired bank manger, said he waited for almost three hours to get the vaccine. "A policeman came to us and took our numbers. We kept waiting for our turn. I received the vaccine around 11.45 AM. I was never tested for COVID-19 and I am not scared for the vaccine," Gupta said at Rajeev Gandhi Super Speciality hospital.
Retired Delhi government employee Inderpal (68), a resident of Jagatpuri, claimed he was the first senior citizen at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital to receive the vaccine on the first day and felt fine after the jab. "My son registered my name online. I came here today morning and showed them the registration paper. There was some technical issue with the portal. I received the vaccine around 11.15 am. I have not felt any side affects till now," he said.
According to reports, people also faced issues in registration and in getting OTPs in Maharashtra's Nagpur and in Mumbai:
"Registration has begun & tokens are being given. We'd begin the process as soon as the site is up," says hospital's Medical Superintendent pic.twitter.com/WWGFWrvU5s
— ANI (@ANI) March 1, 2021
In HJ Doshi hospital in Ghatkopar, CoWIN software has not start functioning yet. Elderly waiting since 9 am. Hospital not allowed to conduct process offline. Walk in vaccination has been stopped. Over 600 people registered at this centre @IndianExpress @MoHFW_INDIA pic.twitter.com/Ym2tZK56UK
— Tabassum (@tabassum_b) March 1, 2021
The Union health ministry clarified that the CoWIN app was only for administrators and that people could register on the web portal.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 1, 2021
RS Sharma, Head of the Empowered Panel on COVID-19 vaccinations said that there was no glitch in CoWIN right from the start. " Some people had spread misinformation that there is CoWIN app. Later, we specified that there is no such app. Registration can be done on Aarogya Setu app and CoWIN portal," he told news agency ANI.
"Those who couldn’t get registered on CoWIN and are not able to access the internet can go to any centre and opt for walk-in vaccination facility. They just have to carry their identity proof with them," Sharma further said.
Earlier in the day, the Union home minister also said that there are no issues with the CoWIN portal and added that the walk-in system will be streamlined in the next few days.
"There are many people in the country who can't access or face difficulties in booking. All these systems will be streamlined within one week. As of now, there is no issue in the CoWIN portal," ANI quoted him as saying.
Citizens can register and book an appointment for vaccination, anytime and anywhere, using the Co-WIN 2.0 portal www.cowin.gov.in or through other IT applications such as Aarogya Setu. There is also a walk-in provision for the beneficiaries to get themselves registered at the nearby session site to get vaccinated, it had said.
On Monday, total coronavirus cases in the country surged to 1,11,12,241 , while the toll rose to 1,57,157 with 106 new fatalities, the health ministry's data updated at 8 showed.
The number of people who have recuperated from the disease surged to 1,07,86,457, which translates to a national COVID-19 recovery rate of97.07percent, it stated. The case fatality rate has dropped to 1.41percent.
The active cases further increased to 1,68,627, which comprises1.52 percent of the total infections, as per the data.
Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have shown a surge in new COVID-19 cases, contributing to 87.25 percent of 15,510 fresh infections reported in a day, the ministry said. Maharashtra continues to report the highest daily new cases at 8,293, followed by Kerala with 3,254 cases while Punjab has reported 579 new cases.
Five states that account for 84 per cent of the total active cases in the country, it highlighted
Maharashtra alone accounts for 46.39 percent of India's total active cases, followed by Kerala with 29.49 percent. "A total of 15 states and union territories have registered more than 1,000 active cases. Kerala and Maharashtra are the two states with over 10,000 active cases, while the rest of the 13 states and UTs have between 1,000-10,000 active cases," the ministry said.
The total number of cases with the UK, South Africa and Brazil variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the country as on date has reached 213, the ministry said.
The Centre is continuously engaging with the states and union territories manifesting higher number of active cases and those reporting a rise in the daily new COVID-19 cases. States and UTs have been advised to maintain a continued rigorous vigil for containing the spread of COVID-19 . Need for effective testing, comprehensive tracking, prompt isolation of positive cases and quick quarantine of close contacts are strongly emphasised, the ministry said.
"Eight states are displaying an upward trajectory in the daily new cases," it underlined.
Kerala has reported the maximum number of single-day recoveries with 4,333 newly-recovered cases. A total of 3,753 people recovered in Maharashtra in the past 24 hours, followed by 490 in Tamil Nadu.
Five states account for 86.79 per cent of the new deaths. Maharashtra saw the maximum casualties of 62 deaths. Kerala followed with 15 daily deaths and Punjab has reported seven fatalities in a span of 24 hours.
A total of 20 states and UTs have not reported any COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, it said.
With inputs from PTI
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