Explained: How to book a vaccine dose


For the first time since India began its vaccination programme against Covid-19 on January 16, the general population will be eligible for the vaccine in the second phase that began on Monday. It is for those above age 60, and those above 45 with co-morbidities.

On the first day, 25 lakh potential beneficiaries registered on the Co-win portal and will be vaccinated in the next few days.

What is unique about the second phase?

As in the first phase, the vaccine type will not be disclosed to the beneficiary at the time of appointment. A beneficiary can self-register themselves and three others using the same mobile number. Slots will be open from 9 am till 3 pm, and appointments can be booked any time before 3 pm subject to availability.

Second, the applicant can select the vaccination centre, date, and time in any state. For instance, a person registered as a voter in Haryana can get vaccinated in Kerala.

Third, until the time of vaccination, all records of registration and appointment can be edited or deleted by the applicant. Only when a person gets vaccinated is the record locked and cannot be edited.

What is the process for self-registration?

The beneficiary has to log in to cowin.gov.in and enter a mobile number; a one-time password is sent to the number. Once the OTP is validated, the beneficiary has to enter four details: the photo ID she intends to show at the time of vaccination; the photo identity number (for instance the Aadhaar number if that is the ID); age and gender; and whether the beneficiary is suffering from any pre-existing co-morbidity.

After these are entered, the beneficiary will be asked to register. Once the registration is complete, she will receive a message. She will be given an option to register up to three more persons, for each of whom she has to enter three details: photo ID proof; ID proof number; name, age, and gender. The applicant will have the option to delete a beneficiary before booking an appointment.

What is the process for an appointment?

The beneficiary has to click ‘Schedule Appointment’, and the site will direct her to ‘book appointment for vaccination’.

In the next step, she will have to choose the state, district, block, and pin code from a dropdown. After these are chosen, the system will display a list of vaccination centres.

Once the beneficiary selects the vaccination centre from these options, the system will display the dates and the number of slots available on a specific day, with an additional option to check the next week’s slots.

And once the beneficiary clicks ‘Book’, an ‘Appointment Confirmation’ page will be displayed. In the final step, the beneficiary has to click ‘Confirm’ after verifying the details; once confirmed, the confirmation page will declare ‘Appointment Successful’.

What identity documents can be used?

You can use your Aadhaar card/letter; electoral photo identity card; passport; driving licence; PAN card; NPR smart card; or pension document with photograph. Those above age 45 and with comorbidities will also have to bring the co-morbidity certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner.

Can a beneficiary walk in without registration on Co-win?

Yes. The states will have a specific number of mobilisation slots. Certain vaccination centres will have a walk-in-facility: On-site registration, appointment, verification, and vaccination will all be on-site the same day. For this, there will be no need for pre-registering beneficiaries online.

What is the process for the second dose?

After the first dose, the beneficiary will be automatically given a scheduled appointment for the second dose at the same centre. However, if the beneficiary has moved to another city, the appointment can be rescheduled at the nearest vaccination centre in that city.

Must the second dose be on Day 29?

This is not mandatory. According to a guidance document given to the states, the second dose will be scheduled at the same centre on Day 29; however, the beneficiary will have the option to change the slot for the second dose to any day between the 29th and 42nd days.

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This option will available on two conditions: when the first dose has already been administered, and if so, only for such centres where the vaccine type is the same as that for the first dose.

What facts must a beneficiary declare to the vaccinator?

The beneficiary should mention if she ever has had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after any drug, food, any vaccine, or any ingredients of the Covid-19 vaccine. Second, the beneficiary has to mention if she has a fever. Most importantly, she has to mention if she has a bleeding disorder or is on a blood thinner. Fourth, she has to say if she is immunocompromised, or is on a medicine that affects the immune system.

Are those on a blood thinner excluded?

No. The Health Ministry guidelines are that vaccines should be administered with caution in persons with a history of any bleeding or coagulation disorder.

Dr Balram Bhargava, DG, Indian Council of Medical Research, had earlier explained that blood thinners are of two categories: anti-platelets, which are aspirin or clopidogrel, and are not a problem at all; and anticoagulants, like heparin, which leave patients with a higher tendency to bleed. The worry is that local swelling can occur at the injection site. Anticoagulants can be stopped for two days prior to the vaccination.

Who all cannot get vaccinated?

The Health Ministry fact sheet says the vaccine cannot be given to three categories:

persons with a history of an allergic reaction to a previous dose of Covid-19 vaccine;

those with an allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies, pharmaceutical products, and food items;

pregnant and lactating women, and women who are not sure of their pregnancy.

The Centre has also specified three categories of temporary contraindications. For such people, vaccination is to be deferred for four-eight weeks after recovery. These categories are: persons having active symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection; Covid-19 patients who have been given anti-SARS-Cov-2 monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma; and acutely unwell and hospitalised — with or without intensive care — patients due to “any illness”.

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