CoWIN portal sees huge rush on Day 1 of registration for those aged 18-45

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Registrations for Covid-19 vaccination for those aged 18 to 45 saw huge rush on Wednesday, the first day it was opened for the age group, with more than 8.7 million people enrolling themselves for the much-awaited jab.


The CoWIN portal saw 55,000 hits per second, said National Health Authority Chief Executive Officer RS Sharma. “There have been [7,965,720] registrations on Co-WIN today, most of these in the last three hours (16:00-19:00) and mostly of 18-44 age group. We have seen a traffic of 55,000 hits per second. System functioning as expected,” Sharma tweeted.


In comparison, as of 5 pm on Tuesday, the portal had less than 2 million registrations. The surge was despite glitches in the Arogya Setu app and the CoWIN portal.


The Union health ministry has said that vaccines would be given only after self-registration and through advance appointment through CoWIN or the Arogya Setu app. No walk-ins or on-the-spot registration would be allowed, unlike previous phases, to ensure physical distancing and avoid overcrowding at the vaccination centres.


Vaccination would be done at private and government centres, where the vaccine would be procured directly by the state governments.


While many states have announced free vaccinations for this age group, the price of vaccines at private centres would be announced by them and will reflect on the CoWIN website at the time of booking. At present, vaccines are available for Rs 250 at private hospitals for citizens aged 45 and above. This will cease to exist from May 1.


While several people faced issues with the one time password or the website not loading, many not just managed to register but also get a slot for the vaccination. “I had to try several pin codes to finally find a centre which was giving app­ointments. The earliest available slot was for mid-May,” a Delhi-based businessman said.


The issue, according to a technology expert who did not wish to be named, was that of a mismatch between the government’s expectations of how many people would try to register for vaccination and the actual number that tried.


“It seems to be an issue of backend capacity. For any application, there has to be an upper limit of how many concurrent users it expects. In scenarios like this, it is easy to get the number wrong,” the person said.


He added, however, that adding cloud infrastructure support at the backend could have helped avoid the glitches. “The application was slow, it wasn’t a server crash,” he said. Also, opening up registrations in the middle of the day caused a rush of applicants. Doing this at midnight could have staggered the numbers and avoided a rush.


Due to limited stocks, the government has said that the priority would be the second dose for those above 45 years of age and healthcare and frontline workers.


Each beneficiary can register up to four people on one mobile number. However, a unique ID proof would be required for each person. This can include passport, PAN card, Aadhaar card, pension passbook, voter ID, driving licence, and the NPR smart card.

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