To manage crowds, Kerala stops spot registration for Covid-19 vaccines

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Although spot registration for the vaccines was stopped, hundreds queued up in major hospitals looking for their turn to get the shots.

Kerala stopped spot registration for Covid-19 vaccination amidst dwindling stock of vaccines in the state, where a large number of people continued to jostle at vaccination centres to get the vaccine shots.

The surge in daily Covid-19 cases has suddenly triggered a higher demand for vaccination in Kerala, where until a week back people had been by and large reluctant to get the shots administered. Although spot registration for the vaccines was stopped, hundreds queued up in major hospitals looking for their turn to get the shots.

Three weeks back, the government had introduced spot registration for vaccination where prior registration with CoWIN portal was not mandatory. This meant anyone above the age of 60 or 45 could walk into any vaccination centre with their AADHAAR card to get spot registration. But introduction of spot registration triggered heavy turnout at vaccination centres, which have been left with a few hundred doses. Many vaccination centres witnessed unruly scenes with people trying to barge into the vaccination rooms to get the shots before the vials go empty.

Health department sources said spot registration was stopped not only due to the shortage of the vaccine, but to reduce the rush at vaccination centres. From Thursday onwards, tokens would be issued to only those who have registered their names with the Co-WIN portal.

“By making prior registration mandatory, we avoid crowding at centres and ensure the vaccine for all those who get a token on a particular day. From Thursday onwards, all districts have stopped mega vaccination camps, mainly outside hospitals, which have been launched earlier to promote vaccination,” sources said.

IMA Kerala unit on Thursday warned that the state’s chaotic vaccination centres would become centres of Covid-19 super spread as social distancing is not maintained at such hubs. “Kerala has effective vaccination machinery and cold chain system. Our primary immunisation system is very strong. Covid-19 vaccination should be introduced in all hospitals, both government and private, where other vaccination programmes are being held regularly,’’ said the IMA in a statement.

Meanwhile, only 2.52 lakh vaccine doses were in stock in Kerala when the day’s vaccination was over on April 21. It is expected that 5.50 lakh doses would reach Kerala on Thursday.

The state health department has been missing the daily vaccination target consecutively for the last few days due to the shortage of vaccines, Covaxin and Covishield. On April 21, the state had targeted 3,95,014 shots but could administer only 1,03,230 shots, which is only 26 per cent of the target. Due to the shrinking vaccine supply, the number of vaccination centres has been reduced to 662 on Wednesday as against last week’s figure of 1400.

Kerala plans to vaccinate 1.13 crore people above the age of 45 before May 20. Hence, the health department had planned to ensure vaccination for 2.5 lakh people on a day and achieve the target on or before May 20.

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