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Simplify the vaccination process, one notification at a time | India News


NEW DELHI: It’s a race against time, say users who have tried to reserve vaccination slots for themselves in the past week. In all the centers, the spaces are opened at random, without signs. In Bihar, vaccination centers still show that injections are only available to people over the age of 45; All Delhi centers are reserved for the 18-45 age group; not a single vaccination center shows up in Noida when users try to book a jab in Uttar Pradesh.
But some technicians are offering real-time solutions to demystify the vaccination process by sending real-time alerts about the availability of spaces through email, telegram channels and WhatsApp notifications.
The generation of these alerts has been made possible because the Indian government made the Cowin Application Programming Interface (API), software that allows two applications to communicate with each other, publicly available to all developers.
Chennai resident Berty Thomas has founded a tool, under45.in, that sends people such alerts through Telegram channels. “I tried to register for vaccination one day after the process opened for people between the ages of 18 and 45. But there were no spaces available for people in my age group. So, I accessed the Cowin API and wrote the script for a tool that filters the centers for people in my age group, ”Thomas told TOI.
It took Thomas three hours to write the first code and create a website, but the server hosting his tool crashed on May 1, just a day after he put it online for public use. “So many people tried to log into the tool on May 1 that it crashed. That’s when I realized that the process could become easier if the tool could send alerts to people trying to reserve spaces, “he said.
Then Thomas developed a script that sends notifications to people through the instant messaging platform Telegram. Currently, more than 1.6 lakh people have subscribed to Telegram channels, which are classified according to regions. “All people have to do now is subscribe to Telegram channels and they will receive the alert. It is being used by people in 80 districts; The Bengaluru channel is the largest with 35,000 subscribers, ”added Thomas.
Similar tools have been developed by other programmers to facilitate the vaccination process. Four friends, Azhar Hussain, Shyam Sunder, Anurag Kishore and Akshay Nautiyal, developed another “getjab.in” slot notifier. The website that lists the different districts where vaccination centers are available and then alerts people about open spaces via email.
“It seems that the process is based on the lottery. Some people manage to register successfully, but there is no uniformity in the exercise, ”said Tahini Bhushan, who managed to reserve a space for her only after registering on one of these platforms.
It’s not just about independent groups of people. On May 6, financial technology giant PayTm also jumped on the bandwagon and announced a notifier. “We are launching a new tool for users to find CovidVaccine slots and set alerts when new slots are opened for their location. @Paytm checks availability in real time and alerts users via Paytm Chat when a new space opens, ”tweeted Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Technical difficulties became apparent the day registration was opened for all adults. According to the union health ministry, the department had sent 1.45 crore One Time Passwords (OTP) to people trying to register on the platform. However, only 80 lakhs of people had managed to complete their registration.
In Maharashtra, some young people came together to develop a similar vaccine tracker that covers 14 of the 32 districts. “People who are currently trying to get vaccinated have to sit in front of their laptops for hours just to keep checking space availability. We wanted to change that and make the process easier, ”said Suchdeep, one of the developers.
Suchdeep initially made a script to reserve a spot for him on May 3, then shared it with two of his friends. He released the tool a day later. “In total, there are 60,000 people who have subscribed to different Telegram channels, the largest group being Pune with 30,000 subscribers, followed by Mumbai with 20,000 members,” Suchdeep said.

Times of India