These Sites Will Help You Find Available COVID Vaccination Slots
Researchers have created a few websites that can help you book a COVID vaccination appointment easily.
Although the Indian government has opened up its vaccination programme to everyone above 18, amid the second wave of the COVID pandemic, citizens across the country have been struggling to book appointments on the CoWIN website for lack of slots.
In a bid to help citizens get appointments, some Indian researchers and developers have come up with websites and apps that notify a user when slots open up.
In addition, these websites use CoWIN's open API (application programming interface) and aim to deliver relevant and timely information on vaccine availability, vaccination centres, and the date and time of the vaccination drive.
This platform helps users look for vaccine availability at a particular centre. Users will have to enter just their mobile number on the website, the system will notify the registrant with the right information.
Findmyvaccine.in developed by Bangalore-based Verloop.io also send a quick notification via WhatsApp about the vaccine availability for the location the user desires.
Internet researcher Rajshekhar Rajaharia has developed a website, using which users can look for real-time vaccine availability in their area.
Just click on your state and select your district to check for the real-time vaccine availability. Users can also directly book appointments from the website.
"After a user books an appointment, the website redirects him/her to the CoWIN portal. The website uses CoWin’s API. Most importantly, if the CoWIN server crashes, it won't affect helpmecovid.com," Rajaharia told The Quint.
In order to be notified about the vaccine availability, the user needs to enter their e-mail address and phone number, noted Rajaharia.
Web developer Berty Thomas has come up with this website to help people aged 18-44 to check for slots available in their areas.
The developer also shares links to Telegram groups on his Twitter account (@BertyThomas) that contain the same slot-availability details.
One major advantage of using this website is that it is privacy protected. Users don't need to provide any personal detail and can only mention the state and district information.
This website will help you get vaccine availability alerts on your phone in the fastest way. The site redirects you to a Telegram channel which helps you track the status of vaccine availability in your area. There are different channels for different cities.
Fears of Inequitable Distribution
While several Indian researchers have designed websites to help people book slots for COVID-19 vaccinations online, concerns have been raised about an unfair advantage for the tech savvy citizens who can jeopardise the chances of an equitable vaccine roll out for the non-tech savvy.
These developers are facing criticism from those who say that such sites give an 'unfair' advantage to people living in metro cities in comparison to people residing in rural areas – who do not possess the digital skills to join the online hunt.
"What we need: Free and equitable vaccination policy. What we have got: Techies making use of scripts to quickly book off the entirety of whatever little vaccine slots that open up," a Twitter user, Rakshith, said.
Speaking to Reuters, driver Dhananali Bariha, 28, in the eastern state of Odisha, said he wanted to get vaccinated but was stumped by the online registration.“I have no idea how to do it. I have not heard about CoWIN.”
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