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CoWIN portal crashes minutes after registrations open for vaccination of 18+

Minutes after the Central government opened the vaccine registration for those between 18-45 years on the CoWIN portal, the website crashed. Although the error was fixed after sometime, and many were able to register, it is unlikely if anyone could set an appointment as many cities showed barely any available vaccination centres at the time of publishing this story.

Even after one could get the portal to work, and able to get vaccination centre data, virtually none of them were accepting appointments for those below 45. Attempts to reach National Health Authority CEO RS Sharma in regards to the matter did not evoke any response.

The registration process began at 4.00 pm and by 4.02 pm the website had crashed and showed a ‘504 – Gateway Time-out’ error, presumably because of server overload with millions of people simultaneously trying to log into the portal at the same time.

Although the website was restored after a few minutes, bugs in the portal made it a very cumbersome process for those looking to registering themselves. Many people, including MediaNama reporters, did not receive OTPs on time. Even for those who did, it was still not smooth sailing as the website often froze, refusing to proceed to the page where they could enter the number.

For the few citizens who were patient enough to wait 40 minutes to finally register themselves and proceed towards scheduling their appointments for vaccination, the system showed barely three or four options for the entire district of Hyderabad. These public health centres, however, had slots only for those above 45. Searching for centres in other major cities in the country — Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai — gave similar results.

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Issues were also reported from the Aarogya Setu, the only other alternate option for registering for the Covid-19 vaccine. On Wednesday evening several citizens reported that the app’s server was down and that it was not responding.


Aarogya Setu provides ‘clarification’, citizens irked

Responding to the numerous messages of the myriads disruption on the CoWin portal, the official Twitter page of Aarogya Setu came out with a clarification saying, “Cowin Portal is working. There was a minor glitch at 4 pm that was fixed. 18 plus can register”.

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However, Aarogya Setu seems to have overlooked that the screenshot which they shared to prove that the portal was working had the same eligiblity criteria of not accepting those below the age of 45 attached to each vaccination centre. In regards to the non availability of slots at some cities, Aarogya Setu said, “Slots will be opened by State governments and private vaccination centers soon.”

In response to the reports of the Aarogya Setu app too not working for vaccine registrations, the official Twitter account for Setu also said, If you are facing any issues in registration on Aarogya Setu – please use https://t.co/S3pUooMbXX to register. Aarogya Setu registration for 18 plus will also be activated soon.”

The clarifications did not sit well with citizens who pointed out the various ongoing issues with the Cowin portal. Citizens vented their ire at the Central government for not being able to register despite spending a long time behind the same.



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A day of chaos

April 28 begin in chaos with the Centre silently delaying the commencement of registration at the last moment. Earlier it was told by the government that the registration would begin at 12 am of April 28. However, in the morning when citizens tried to access the portal to register and were unable to, the government officially clarified saying that the registration process has been shifted to 4 pm.

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***Correction (8.00 PM, April 28): Updated with incidences of Aarogya Setu app being reported not working. Apart from that, tweets from citizens dissatisfied with the Cowin portal has also been added. Originally published at 5.45 PM, April 28.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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