Improper communication leads to chaos at vaccination centres


People have been waiting in the queue for hours without any social distancing and due to shortage of vaccination.

Mumbai: Hundreds of people gather outside the M.T. Agarwal Hospital vaccination center of Mumbai. Volunteers and police try to disperse the crowd throughout the day, but to no avail. .  

Balu Shivale and Indumati Shivale booked for the first dose of vaccination for slots between 12PM and 5PM at M.T. Agarwal Hospital vaccination center of Mumbai. There was a separate queue for people above 45 years of age who have already taken their first dose. However there was no separate queue for the people who came to take the first jab. Unaware of what to do, Balu Shivale kept going to BMC ( Bruhanmumbai Municipal Corporation) officers who issued a token at the vaccine centre. But he didn’t get any proper information whether he will get a vaccine today or not.

“I have been standing over here since morning. I have booked today’s slot between 12PM and 5 PM but now they are issuing a token only to the people who have taken it. No one is giving any information properly to us, where we should go to take the first dose. All the volunteers are giving different information. What is the use of booking the slot and then coming over here to take a vaccine ?” he said.

BMC volunteers said there are only 135 doses available today. “We are distributing tokens only to those people who have taken their first dose of the vaccination. Still people are standing at the center since morning without listening to us.”

Sunil Janjal registered on Covin app on 19th April 2021 for himself and his mother. He was waiting for further communication from BMC since the last 15 days. As he didn’t get any message from BMC he visited the vaccine center today. “I have been waiting for further communication from BMC since 19th April. I was not aware that I was supposed to book a slot online. I only registered on Covin website and didn’t get any further information about slot booking. I came over here and got to know about slot booking from the other people standing in the queue. They guided me how to book for the slot for vaccination.” he said.

 The Attendant of BMC’s T ward said that they are vaccinating only those who have taken their first dose. “I am not aware of what they are doing at the vaccination centre. Those who have booked  today’s slot for the first dose of vaccination may have to book again in the next slot. 

BMC had announced  earlier that only 20 percent of the doses would be given to walk-ins. However, today, no walk-ins were allowed. BMC officers have appealed to people many times to register for the vaccination and go to the vaccination centre only if they receive a message with time and date for the booked slot. Still people, who are unaware about how to register for vaccines or book for the slot, gather at the vaccination centre.

None of these people were maintaining social distancing or following any COVID19 protocol.

Anthony who came to enquire about a second dose of vaccination for his mother was also waiting for two three hours. “My mother is aged. She can’t come here and wait in the queue for four to five hours. I came here to enquire about the second dose of vaccination started from today. These people who are standing in the queue since morning have not received a token. But after seeing a long queue I am going back home now and will come after some days.” he said.

Professor of Mass Communication Akkamahadevi University, Onkar Kakade, said that the government should communicate vaccination related announcements effectively through all social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and other social media. He added that the government should use different communication channels which will reach remote areas and every corner of the society. They should make announcements in various villages. “Illiterate people are not aware how to register. Government should develop common registration centres at various parts of the state. They should appoint volunteers from colleges or universities who are trained about registration and guide the people about registration. These volunteers can be there outside of the various vaccination centres to guide aged and illiterate people. NGO’s and individuals should also help the people who are unaware of government announcements and registration.”