New Delhi, Jan 20 : The government has updated the Co-WIN application and allowed the vaccination sites to manually add the beneficiaries expected to undergo the inoculation exercise, who earlier, were randomly picked by the application itself.
The latest tweak in the app is expected to increase the turnout at the government hospitals who are struggling to reach even the half-way mark of their vaccination target.
The Union Health Ministry has added an “allot beneficiary” feature in the app. “The feature has been added to facilitate maximum utilisation of staff deployed at the session sites so that they cater to optimal number of beneficiaries per session,” a communication by the ministry said.
The change was implemented from Tuesday onwards.
Dr Amit Gupta, vaccine coordinator at Lok Nayak Hospital, said that the hospital expects up to 70 per cent of turnout in the upcoming session which is scheduled on Thursday.
“We have only been able to achieve 20-30% of our target. However, the move will enable us to call those beneficiaries who are genuinely interested in vaccination but are unable to come forward since they are given slots for further dates. This way, they can advance their vaccination and increase the turnout,” he said.
“The better turnout will also encourage more people to come and get vaccinated,” he added.
The Lok Nayak Hospital vaccinated 35 people on Tuesday.
Dr Pragya Shukla, Nodal officer for Covid vaccination, Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI), said that the change in Co-WIN is a welcome move which should have been implemented earlier. “From day 1 we were telling that rather than the app, we (vaccination sites) should be allowed to decide the beneficiaries. However, since it has been implemented, we expect better outcomes from now,” she added.
This will also lead to less wastage of the vaccine doses, Shukla added. The DSCI immunised 21 beneficiaries in the last session of Covid vaccination.
Raman Bhaskar, Hospital Director, HCMCT Manipal Hospital also agreed that the new feature in the Co-WIN app will help hospitals to organise more participation. “However, it should be at will and not perceived as scheduled or forced on the patients by government authorities,” he cautioned.
The hospital inoculated 66 people in the last session that happened on Tuesday.
Dr Suneela Garg, public health expert and professor of excellence, Maulana Azad Medical College, said that allowing the hospitals to choose the beneficiaries will have two advantages in the vaccination programme.
“One, the number of participants would increase. Secondly, it will keep a check on the vaccine wastage,” she suggested.
However, Garg added that a robust follow-up should complement the move to draw a better outcome from it.”It should be complemented with repetitive messages to each beneficiary called to get vaccinated so that both our aim–full achievement of target–and no wastage of doses–are achieved,” she stressed.
“We should talk to 100 listed beneficiaries who are slated to receive doses on different days. This may provide them an option to inoculate prior to their slot, which eventually, would raise the vaccination number on a given day,” Garg explained.