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PUNE: Citizens began to question the value of getting online appointments for vaccines after many vaccination centers were found to only honor walk-in visits. Several people complained to TOI that despite a confirmed CoWIN date for a particular day, getting a token was the only option to get the second jab.
Baner resident Amardeep Nagarkar, who booked a slot on May 13 for his parents over the age of 70, said: “As soon as I learned of the slot availability, I booked online on CoWIN and i got the 12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. slot. My brother immediately took my parents to the vaccination center, but they were told that the doses were over by then. Why was the slot available if the doses were not? These centers have a fixed number of doses for people with an appointment and for people without an appointment. The vaccine for my parents was most likely given without an appointment. ”
An elderly person who did not wish to be named said: “Even after a confirmed appointment, people are refused the vaccine. I had a similar experience in a center, which was probably run by a political party. I was refused the shot and told to come early in the morning to get a token despite an online appointment on CoWIN. This preference system for jabs for appointments or on a first come, first served basis makes appointments superfluous. An elderly person cannot be expected to take the risk of standing in line amid the spread of Covid. ”
A city-based Twitter user said, “My parents, 45 and over, were denied doses right off the bat in a center. Authorities said the CoWIN slot reservation was invalid. They were told to come in the morning, stand in line and get the shot. ”
City-based Anita Shinde had recently made an appointment for her husband’s second stroke at a hospital in Bibvewadi. “But when he got there on time (10 am-12pm), he was told there were no vaccines. Several others with confirmed online dates were also told of the same. Making appointments online doesn’t matter; hospitals end their vaccination quota with walk-in visits, ”she said.
An official from the district health department told TOI: “If beneficiaries have an appointment for a particular day, it means that they will need to be vaccinated on that day. Sometimes the centers take a call depending on local conditions. For example, if a center only has 200 doses and there are more appointments than that, with people creating a scramble on the site, how should it all be handled? That said, those who have online appointments must be vaccinated on the day of booking. ”