Vaccination timings to be extended till 9 p.m. for working professionals in city

Decision was taken after a poor response from people above the age of 45

If all goes as planned, people above the age of 45 in Bengaluru will soon be able to walk into a designated hospital and get vaccinated against COVID-19 as late as 9 p.m.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), in consultation with private hospitals, has decided to extend vaccination timings, following a lukewarm response to the third phase of the vaccination drive, which began on April 1. As most of the people in this category are working professionals, private hospital managements in Bengaluru have been asked to keep the Co-WIN portal accessible till 9 p.m. This will enable people above the age of 45 to visit vaccination centres after they wrap up work for the day. It will be rolled out in the coming days, said officials.

H.M. Prasanna, president, Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes’ Association (PHANA), said that people in the garment industry, government officials and also software professionals will not be able to take the shot before 5 p.m.

“After 5 p.m, once we enter a person’s Aadhaar details, the OTP is not generated, and we cannot vaccinate them,” he said. He added that this issue was discussed at a meeting with BBMP Commissioner Gaurav Gupta on Saturday, which saw the participation of heads of 80 hospital managements.

On Sunday, BBMP officials told The Hindu that nodal officers across all hospitals would be trained to reset the timings and ensure that they are able to vaccinate people till 9 p.m. without any hurdles.

Once the timings are extended, working professionals will no longer have to apply for leave to get the shot. Rohan S., a 47-year-old software professional, said that he tried to get a jab on Friday at around 6 p.m. after work. “I went to a private hospital in East Bengaluru and they asked me to come between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. I will be unable to take such a long break between work on weekdays and the vaccination site is closed on Sundays,” he said.

Private hospitals, too, are relieved by this development as an increasing number of vaccination centres have been turning away people who come in after 5 p.m. “We had put up a board that vaccinations can take place only between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. We do not want people to queue up late in the evening if the system does not allow us to schedule vaccinations late in the evening,” said a management member of a private hospital.

Poor demand

Private hospital managements also say that there is a lot of demand for vaccination in some hospitals and very poor demand in others. “People should go to any health centre to get vaccinated and not pin their hopes on one or two popular hospitals,” said Mr. Prasanna.

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