Unable to find vaccine slots, hundreds opt for smart ideas like Telegram instant alerts

Unable to find COVID-19 vaccine slots on CoWIN, hundreds are now looking for smart solutions to get themselves appointments.

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Kaziranga University

On May 7, Assam government started vaccinating people belonging to the 18-44 age group, with hundreds booking their slots on May 6 itself through the CoWIN platform. On the ‘first day’ of booking the appointments, the slots in Kamrup Metro district went empty within minutes, if not seconds.

Similarly, on May 7, the vaccine slots for May 8 went from available to “booked” within minutes. Interestingly, the government has not declared any particular time when the vaccine slots are being made available and hence many people are visiting the website multiple times a day to look for appointment availability.

Unable to find vaccine appointment slots, people were seen using smart solutions like Telegram alerts to let themselves know of slot availability instantly. A Telegram channel named ‘U45 Kamrup Metropolitan’, created by under45.in, is offering instant alerts for the district and has become very popular among the savvy users.

From just about 50 subscribers on May 6 morning, the channel now has been subscribed by nearly 800 people who get alerts on slots availability whenever they are made available by the officials.

“I could easily book my vaccine slot today (May 7) as the Telegram alert informed me of the availability instantly. Yesterday, by the time I came to know about the opening of the vaccine slots, they were already not available,” said a resident of Guwahati’s Bhetapara area who did not wish to be named.

Like under45.in, there are other services which uses the public APIs provided by CoWIN to create these alert mechanisms. For the tech savvy users, it has resulted in taking quick decisions as they get the information as instant notifications.

While Telegram is one option – as it allows bots to be created easily – a service by getjab.in allows people to get themselves notified by email when a vaccine slot is made available.

While the under45.in service is still working smoothly, the central government on May 5 updated its policy on CoWIN public APIs which broadly said that now the data could be made available upto 30 minutes old. This directly impacts the instant alert services.

Editor’s Note: TNM advises citizens to be cautious while sharing information on services not approved directly by the government. Vaccine appointments are made available through CoWIN and Aarogya Setu regularly.


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About Jayanta Deka

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Jayanta Deka is a Guwahati-based journalist with more than 10 years of experience in journalism. Tracking new media, technology, startups and politics interest him. He can be reached through [email protected]

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