Warangal: The Central government's mandate to conduct the COVID-19 vaccination drive through slot bookings only is causing hardship to the rural population. People in the age group of 18 and 44 were also asked to register for vaccination along with those over 45 who are already being given the vaccine. Until recently, those who visited vaccination centres with an Aadhaar card were administered vaccine by registering their details online on the spot.
However Last Tuesday, the government cancelled on-spot registration. With the introduction of slot booking, those who want to get vaccinated will now have to download the Aarogya Setu app on their smartphones and fill out the details through the CoWIN portal. Aadhaar card number, district name, and details of preferred vaccination centres are required to be recorded. The beneficiary can see the details of the time and date on which slots are available and can book the same accordingly.
But, rural pockets like Mulugu and Jayashankar Bhupalpally lack Internet service, this facility cannot be availed. People can book their slots through the Mee-Seva centres or the Internet centres in their mandal centres. But travelling there and waiting in the line to register themselves puts them at the risk of contracting the virus.
Moreover, slot booking is not free at the Mee Seva centres. They are being charged between Rs. 20 and Rs. 50 currently. However, if the demand increases, the managers could charge up to Rs. 100 citing that they are at the risk of contracting the virus. "The government must consider letting spot booking at least for those who are above the age of 45. This will ease their troubles as most in the age group are illiterates and also more susceptible to the virus," said B. Mallaiah, a farmer from Mangapet.
However, those who did manage to register a slot for vaccination are yet to be vaccinated due to the shortage of vaccines. So far, more than 25,000 slots were booked by those in the age group of 18-44 from Bhupalpally and Mulugu districts. But the state government has suspended the vaccination due to a shortage of vaccines.
Currently, only those over 45 years of age who already took the first dose of vaccine are being vaccinated with the second dose. Already 130,000 people have been vaccinated in Bhupalpally and Mulugu districts. The government has imposed daily restrictions on vaccinations to stop the spread of the virus. Each centre was ordered to vaccinate only 100 people a day.
Vaccination is being done in 12 primary health centres (PHCs) in Bhupalpally district, Chityala, Mahadevpur and Singareni area hospitals. From now on, only 1,500 people will be vaccinated at the rate of 100 per day in 15 centres.
Mulugu district has 18 PHCs and Mulugu and Eturunagaram area hospitals. Two thousand vaccinations at the rate of 100 per day are possible in these 20 centres.