These Kerala students helped nearly 600 older people get registered on CoWIN for their vax shot. Here's how

Four volunteers of an organisation Dhisha have helped around 160 people get vaccinated in Kerala. Here's how
Their helplines are open now
Their helplines are open now

With the second wave of COVID proving to India that this virus is nowhere close to being done, getting vaccinated as soon as possible has become the only major line of defence for many people. But therein lies a challenge. A lot of people who are eligible to get vaccinated do not know how to access the union government's CoWIN portal and registration on the portal is a mandate to get vaccinated in the country (walk-ins sometimes do not get the shot because of increased demand). 

While ignorance or digital illiteracy stands as a hurdle for a whole lot of people, a lot of them do not have access to the technology or the know-how. That was when Dhisha, a Kerala-based independent organisation came forward, offering to help people register themselves and get the slots to be vaccinated. Currently, four students are volunteering as part of the initiative and they tell us that thus far they have helped 160 people get the vaccine slots and 600 people register.

"One day, we were having a conversation about how Dhisha's founder Dinu's father found ti difficult to access CoWIN. That was when we thought that there may be a lot many people out there who may not know how to use it or won't have the resources to do so," says Sreethu Prakash, a volunteer. "That was when we decided to take up this initiative and allot a few full-time volunteers for this," she says.

Soon, they made posters and drafted messages to be circulated among people, who spread it to their peers via word of mouth. "Most of the people who call us got to know about this through other people. A lot of them call us because they think that they are unable to get the slots because they made an error," she says, adding that the volunteers take time to explain the issue of vaccine shortage if that is the case. Sreethu is a first-year MA Mass Communication student at the Central University of Tamil Nadu. "A lot of the time, my phone rings when I am in the middle of a lecture. But that does not stop me from doing my part," she says.

Another volunteer, Jishnu, says that a lot of elderly people call the helpline because they find the thought of having someone to talk to, comforting. "We are happy to help them out if we can play a role in making these times easier for them," he says.

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