On-site registration and appointment has now been enabled for the 18-44 years age group on the CoWin platform for COVID-19 vaccination, the Union health ministry said on Monday.
However, this feature is being enabled only for government COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs) at present, it said.
This feature will not be available for private CVCs and they will have to publish their vaccination schedules exclusively with slots for online appointments.
This feature will be used only upon decision of respective states and UT governments.
States and UT must decide on opening of on-site registrations/facilitated cohorts' registration and appointments for 18-44 years age group based on the local context just as an additional measure to minimise vaccine wastage and for facilitating vaccination of eligible beneficiaries in the age group of 18-44 years, the ministry said in its statement.
The coverage of vaccination was expanded to people in the age group of 18 to 44 years on May 1 with the implementation of the Liberalised Pricing and Accelerated National COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy.
The facility of only online appointment mode initially to people in the age group of 18 to 44 years helped to avoid overcrowding at vaccination centres, the statement.
Based on various representations given by states and inputs received by ministry for the vaccination of 18-44 years age group, the Union government has now decided to provide facility of on-site registration/facilitated cohort registration on CoWIN digital platform for 18-44 years age group considering that in case of sessions exclusively organised with online slots, towards the end of the day, some doses may still be left unutilised in case the online appointee beneficiaries do not turn up on day of vaccination.
In such cases, on-site registration of a few beneficiaries may be necessary to minimise the vaccine wastage, the statement said.
Even though CoWIN provides for features such as registration of up to 4 beneficiaries with a mobile number, facilitated registration and appointments through applications, such as Arogya Setu and Umang and through the Common Service Centres etc., people requiring facilitated cohort's facility and those without access to internet or smart phones or mobile phones may still have limited access for vaccination.
"Therefore, the feature for on-site registration and appointment is now being enabled for the 18-44 years age group on CoWIN.
"However, this feature is being enabled only for Government COVID Vaccination Centers (CVCs), at the present moment in time," the ministry said.
The Union Health Ministry has advised the states and UTs to issue clear instructions to all District Immunization Officers to strictly adhere to decision of respective state and UT Government regarding the extent and manner of using the on-site registration and appointment feature for 18 to 44 years age group, the statement said.
Fully reserved sessions can also be organised for providing vaccination services to beneficiaries belonging to facilitated cohorts.
Wherever such fully reserved sessions are organized, all efforts must also be made to mobilize such beneficiaries in sufficient numbers.
The ministry has further advised states and UTs that abundant caution should be exercised and extreme due care should be taken while opening up of on-site registration and appointment for 18-44 years age group, in order to avoid overcrowding at vaccination centres, the statement said.