There have been some media reports alleging that homeless people have been ‘barred and conspicuously left out’’ from registering for COVID-19 vaccination due to unavailability of technical requirements.
The reports have further stated ‘requirement to register digitally’, ‘knowledge of English and access to a computer or a smart phone connected to the internet’ as some of the factors depriving people of vaccination.
These claims are baseless and not based on facts. It is clarified that:
1. Ownership of a mobile phone is not a prerequisite for Covid vaccination.
2. Production of address proof for availing vaccination is also not mandatory.
3. It is not mandatory to pre-register online on Co-WIN for availing vaccination.
4. For easy understanding of users, Co-Win is now available in 12 languages. These include Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Gujarati, Odia, Bengali, Assamese, Gurumukhi (Punjabi) and English.
Co-WIN platform is an inclusive IT system which provides a flexible framework with all the necessary features to facilitate coverage in the remotest parts of the country as well as for those who are most vulnerable. While one of the nine identity cards including Aadhar, Elector Photo Identity Card, Ration Card with Photo, Disability I.D. Card etc., is required for availing of vaccination, special provisions have been made by Government of India for organising vaccination sessions for those who may not have any of the nine specified identity cards or own a mobile phone.
Taking full benefit of such provisions, more than 2 lakh such beneficiaries have been vaccinated, so far. Near-to-home vaccination centre services for the elderly and persons with disability are also being provided. Government of India has issued an advisory for Near-to-Home vaccination centre services for the elderly and persons with disability on 27thMay 2021.
For those who may not have access to internet or smartphones or even to mobile phone, free of cost on-site registration (also popularly called Walk-In) and vaccination is available at all government vaccination centres. 80% of all vaccine doses have so far been administered in an on-site vaccination mode. In on-site (or walk-in) vaccination, all the data recording for registration, vaccination and generation of vaccination certificates is done by the vaccinator and the beneficiary himself/herself is only required to provide the basic minimum necessary information.
Furthermore, COVID-19 vaccination coverage is found to be better in tribal districts than the national averages. Data also shows that more than 70% of vaccination centres are located in rural areas including more than 26,000 at the Primary Health Centres and 26000 at the sub-health centres.