Co-WIN under Heavy Load of Covid Vax Registrations; No Vaccine Appointment for above 18 Years
Proving all tech experts right, the Co-WIN a platform
used by Central government for registration of COVID-19 vaccine and booking appointments, crashed as soon as it started registrations for those above 18 years. Further, for all those who are registering, the platform failed to show any vaccine centre for booking an appointment for vaccination in some states. The same was the case with Aarogya Setu and Umang mobile apps that can be used for COVIDvaccination. Both the apps also faced several issues while registering new users. After initial glitches, Co-WIN, Aarogya Setu and Umang allowed new registrations but booking an appointment for the vaccine was not allowed for those above 18 years.
In a tweet, Aarogya Setu says, more than 3.5 million people registered in the first hour after launch of 18+ registration on the portal http://cowin.gov.in and appointments for 18-44 years will be available when state governments and private vaccination centres schedule these sessions.
On 19 April 2021, the Central government has decided to allow everyone above 18 years to take the vaccine or coronavirus (COVID-19).
The government has already clarified that there will be no walk-in allowed for beneficiaries in the third phase. "Only self-registration and advance appointments for people between 18 to 45 years of age. No walk in allowed," it had said.
However, there simply are no vaccine centres available nearby for booking an appointment. Especially when checked for some cities of Maharashtra, the portal says, "No vaccination centre is available for booking." Some can see vaccine centre available at far away places from their residences.
The slot booking page from the Co-WIN portal says, "Appointment for age 18 to 44 is based on slots made available by the private vaccination centres as well as the respective state government. If slots are not currently available, it will be opened soon. Please check again in sometime. We regret the inconvenience."
Many new registrants complained about not receiving the one-time passcode (OTP) for login to the Co-WIN portal.
The same is the case with Aarogya Setu and Umang apps and new registrants are unable to register and find any vaccine centre listed there.
Vaccination slots, however, are available for those above 45 years till 1st May. For example, when checked last, there was one slot available at Cooper Hospital in Mumbai. However, many vaccine centres remain closed due to non-availability of COVID vaccines.
Tech expert Srinivas Kodali has been warning about the possible load and subsequent crashing of Co-WIN portal and platform. "Why do you need a centralised software system like Co-WIN to get vaccinated, why should centre allot slots, why can't there be a more distributed architecture for information systems?" he asks.
He further says, let states handle how to distribute vaccines, and stop forcing centralised software systems. "There is no need to use Co-WIN for a billion people. Think rationally and de-centralise. Decentralise governance, information systems and de-centralise distribution," he says.
Anivar Aravind, a public interest technologist, says, "The Current Co-WIN registration for 18-45 is just user acquisitions to put pressure on states for immediate purchase. Centre's job is not registration, it is ensuring availability. You spend money, we own your data is the vaccine policy now."
In a tweet, Aarogya Setu accepted that there was a minor glitch at 4pm with the Co-WIN that is fixed.
"You can either accept this is how software works in cases like Co-WIN, Aadhaar, Aarogya Setu or you can question who designs it, who codes it, who forces it. There are no short cuts to improving information systems inside government. Public participation is how things improve," Mr Kodali summarises the issue.