SATARA: According to officials in some states, India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive was still facing some delays on Sunday after it hit a hump on the first day because of bugs in an app used to organise the initiative.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled what his government has described as the “largest vaccination programme in the world.” It aims to vaccinate about 300 million people in India, which has recorded the second highest number of cases of coronavirus after the United States, to curb the pandemic.
On Saturday, India planned to vaccinate more than 300,000 people, but on the first day, only 191,181 people were inoculated, official data shows.
Officials in at least four states said that many health workers who were due to receive a vaccine on Saturday did not receive the message from a government-developed app called Co-Win. Officials in at least one state said the problems on Sunday had not yet been resolved.
Health staff, who are first in line to get vaccinations, should be alerted by Co-Win. It also makes it easier for authorities to track and control the whole programme.
“On Saturday, we were planning to vaccinate 28,500 individuals, but we could only do 18,328 because of glitches in the Co-Win app,” said a senior official at the western state of Maharashtra health department.
The Indian state struck worst by Covid-19 was Maharashtra, home to Mumbai’s financial centre.
In the eastern states of Odisha and West Bengal, officials said that due to problems with the app, they were forced to use printouts on Saturday.
“We also went with our Plan B and contacted individuals directly offline to be vaccinated,” Bijay Kumar Mohapatra, Health Services Officer, Odisha, said in Bhubaneswar, the state capital.
A request for comment on Sunday was not addressed by the Indian government.
“The performance and speed of the system has been improved and is being further optimised,” a senior health ministry official, Manohar Agnani, said on Saturday.
On Sunday, the eastern state of West Bengal was also witnessing glitches.
“The problem has yet to be solved and we are facing serious impediments,” said Dr Ajoy Chakraborty, Head of Health Services for West Bengal.
For comment on Sunday, authorities in other states could not be contacted.
India is currently using the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine from Britain, which is also manufactured in India, and a government-backed vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech of India.
However, the approval of COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech has been opposed by health researchers and opposition lawmakers due to a shortage of effectiveness research that is still being performed by the manufacturer.