India began vaccinating seniors but less than 10% could navigate tech glitches and get registered

Vaccine ready.
Vaccine ready.
Image: REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas
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India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive for a part of its general population came with teething issues on day 1.

On March 1, the Indian government opened its vaccination drive to people over 60 years of age and those between 45 and 59 with co-morbidities. India has created the Co-WIN website for registering vaccine beneficiaries and scheduling appointments. Those eligible can either choose to get the vaccine for free at government hospitals or pay Rs250 ($3.4) at authorised private healthcare centres.

However, on the first day, only 8% of those who tried to register for the vaccine were able to successfully schedule appointments, according to a survey by community engagement platform LocalCircles.

Among the most common complaints was the trouble receiving a one-time password via text messages.

Though the government has been consistently trying to urge people to come forward and get the vaccine, a degree of hesitancy still persists. Some Indians, among the 10,454 surveyed by LocalCircles, still say they won’t take the vaccine, but that number is smaller than those who are confident about getting immunised.

A promising trend is also the reducing vaccine hesitancy in the country, where over the past 45 days, more Indians have said they would be open to getting the vaccine as soon as they become eligible. This confidence will likely be further boosted by the fact that prime minister Narendra Modi was the first to take India’s Covaxin shot on March 1.