To get appointment and beat long wait, seniors in Bengaluru give false pin codes | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Whether state authorities grossly underestimated the response from senior citizens to the Covid-19 vaccine or whether they went about the process in their usual lackadaisical manner, the fact that there are too few vaccination centres in Bengaluru is hurting the drive.
Many senior citizens say the lack of vaccination centres near their homes is forcing them to travel to different parts of the city to get the anti-virus dose. And in a bid to ensure they get the vaccine after all the hassle, several elderly citizens are entering ‘560001’ as their pin code in the Co-Win portal in the hope of easily securing appointments in hospitals located in the heart of the city.
Most of the vaccination centres are located in and around the central business district. Those from south Bengaluru are travelling to Vasanthnagar and Rajajinagar to get the dose, while those from Whitefield are making it all the way to Old Airport Road and the central business district by mentioning different pin codes in the portal.
“There are no centres near Koramangala. Should we wait till the government opens up centres across the city or access it by other means?” asked an elderly couple from Koramangala who got the vaccine in a hospital near Vasanthnagar.
A senior citizen told TOI that repeated attempts to book an appointment for the jab at a centre near his house in Banashankari came to naught. Although two corporate hospitals are located within 3km and 5km of her house, she couldn’t get a booking as the app showed no appointments were available.
“There are not just glitches in the registration process. When I click on hospitals nearest to me, I get a pop-up saying no appointments are available,” said the 69-yearold retired bank employee. She has now secured an appointment at a Rajajinagar hospital, more than 11km from her house.
No place for walk-ins

When contacted, N Manjunatha Prasad, commissioner, BBMP said there is no rule which bars residents from one locality from getting the vaccine anywhere else. “Public are resorting to such strategies to get vaccination at the earliest. In the pilot run we chose 23 to 26 hospitals and this will be increased,” Prasad said.
On being asked why hospitals are refusing on-thespot registrations, Prasad said the feature is only to be used by those who cannot access the Co-Win portal to register on their own. He cited the example of slum dwellers who need to be mobilized to get the vaccine.
However, as per government of India guidelines, 75% of appointments must be booked in advance through the portal, while 25 % are to be reserved for on spot-thespot registrations.
Prasad said a meeting with 107 private hospitals and representatives from 141 primary health centres will be held at Townhall, Bengaluru on Friday where the hospitals will be informed about BBMP’s plans to expand the vaccination drive. “The hospitals can raise doubts, pose queries and discuss issues at Friday’s meeting,” he said.

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Sagar Biswas

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