Vaccination in Delhi: Special Cowin sessions for homeless people without identity cards

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New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) Without an identity proof or a mobile phone, 46-year-old Sunil Thakur waited for four hours to get vaccinated at a special inoculation centre set up for homeless people at Yamuna Pushta Night Shelter here, while people who came from places like Baghpat and Ghaziabad and had IDs got jabs within minutes.

'Confusion marred the pace of the vaccination drive for homeless people. Nobody knew how to register such people without an identity card or mobile number,' an officer at the vaccination centre said. The Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board organised the vaccination camp in association with the office of the district magistrate (Central Delhi) the Centre for Holistic Development.

One of the officers present at the camp said he got to know about the drive last night. 'There were no preparations whatsoever. Someone, we got it started around 10:30 am,' he said.

In the absence of a mechanism to register homeless people on the Cowin portal, those having an identity proof and a mobile number were vaccinated with Covishield first. 'This drive was meant for homeless people; most of them do not have any identity proof or mobile number. So, they had to wait for hours while people from outside got themselves registered and took the jabs within minutes,' a member of an NGO present at the night shelter said. Most of the first 50 people vaccinated at the centre till 2 pm on Friday belonged to nearby residential areas. Some had come from outside Delhi.

Ram Lakhan Mahto, 45, came from Ghaziabad to take the jab. A family of five from Baghpat also got their shot before most of the homeless people waiting at the night shelter since morning.

Amod Kumar and three of his friends from Jamuna Bazaar and Patel Nagar too walked out of the centre after getting inoculated in a few minutes.

A special session, which allowed registration of 'as many homeless beneficiaries as needed' was created on the CoWIN portal, Vaccination Officer Aftab Ahmed said. Around 100 homeless people were linked to an ID created with Aadhaar and mobile number of the night shelter's caretaker, he said.

'We cannot simply enter the names of homeless people in a register and vaccinate them. This crucial data goes to state and central governments. So, we waited till an ID was created,' Ahmed said.

A total of 150 people were vaccinated on the first day. The drive will be expanded to Dandi Park in North Delhi on Saturday, a DUSIB official said. PTI GVS KJ KJ

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