- The CoWIN website can help you find COVID-19 vaccine availability and vaccine centers near you. However, it involves a rather cumbersome process and only allows you to see slot availability for one locality at a time.
- Thanks to the publicly available CoWIN APIs, we are starting to see many vaccine tracker tools/services cropping up to help people find vaccine availability and get appointments nearby.
- Now that the COVID-19 vaccination program is open to anyone over the age of 18, these tools can help individuals locate vaccination centers near them to be inoculated and protected from the disease.
India is currently recording close to four lakh COVID-19 cases a day, with the actual numbers expected to be much higher than that. In a battle against the second wave of the Coronavirus, which has devastatingly affected the country’s system, resulting in states screeching for help across multiple fronts, the Indian government has opened the second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program to those above 18 years of age.
As part of this effort, starting May 1, the center announced the availability of COVID-19 vaccine doses for people in the 18-44 age bracket to inoculate more citizens. Until now, the first phase of the Coronavirus vaccine drive was available to those above 45 years of age.
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Checking COVID-19 Vaccine Slots and Booking an Appointment
The government of India recently launched the CoWIN website to make checking in on available slots and booking an appointment for vaccination easier. You can use this website to register yourself using your mobile number, Aadhaar number, or any other identity documents and find available slots at your nearby vaccination center to book an appointment.
Searching for a nearby COVID-19 vaccination center is simplified with the quick search feature, which lets you check the nearest vaccination center and slot availability by PIN or District. Despite being relatively easy to use, though, the website does require you to manually check back for available slots from time to time, in case you cannot manage to find one in the first place.
In this regard, we are starting to see people come up with solutions to make finding vaccine availability and slots more convenient such that people do not have to perform the strenuous task of checking availability on the CoWIN website over and over and can still get those updates via email or other alerts.
Most of these Covid-19 vaccine trackers use the Co-WIN Public APIs provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to offer their tracking functionalities. Of these vaccine trackers, the “COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for India” by Labnol is the easiest solution (as of now) to monitor vaccine availability near you, especially for those between 18 to 44 years since availability of slots is very limited for this section right now.
COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for India
Developed by Amit Agarwal (Labnol), the vaccine tracker is basically a Google Sheet that uses the public data to send you alerts for vaccine availability in your area via email. To do this, it requires you to set up an email alert for the desired PIN code(s) in your city and the vaccination age group (you want alerts for).
Once you set up an email alert, the vaccine tracker will send you an email at 8 AM every day (or at your preferred frequency) to designate the availability of vaccines (Covidshield and Covaxin) in your city — particularly your desired PIN codes.
Google Sheets requires you to authorize Labnol’s vaccine tracker before you can use it. But you need not worry since it is safe to use and open-source: you can check out the source code for the tracker over at Labnol’s GitHub.
How to Use COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker
All you need to use COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for India is your Google account and details about your localities’ PIN code(s). If you do not know the PIN codes in your locality, head over to India Post’s PIN code directory and select your State/UT and City to get a list of all the PIN codes. Considering you have these, follow the steps below to set up vaccine availability on your email address.
- Click here to open Labnol’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker.
- Hit the Make a copy button to make a copy of the vaccine tracker in your Google Sheets account. [If you are not signed in to your Google account, you will be required to do so.]
- In this copy Sheet, click on Vaccine Tracker next to the Help menu and select Enable.
- Google Sheets will now ask you to authorize the Sheet permission to run. Click on Continue to grant access. [You might be required to select your account again. Make sure you choose the same account you did earlier.]
- On the verification alert page, click on Advanced and select Go to Vaccine Alerts (unsafe). Subsequently, on the permission screen, click Allow.
- Again, click on Vaccine Tracker (like you did in Step-3) and select Enable to run the vaccine availability script.
- On the COVID-19 Vaccine Near Me page, enter the PIN code for your locality in your city for where you want vaccine availability alerts. (You can add multiple PIN codes by separating them with a comma. For example: 400001, 400002, 400003, 400004).
- In the Email address field, enter your email address on which you would like to receive the updates.
- Choose the Vaccination Age Group between 18-45 years and 45+ years by ticking the checkbox next to them.
- Click on the dropdown menu for Check Vaccine Availability to select the frequency of receiving vaccine availability alerts. Available alert options include every hour, every day, and 2/4/6/12 hours.
- Finally, hit the Create Email Alert button to set up your vaccine availability alert.
Once set up, the tool will send you COVID-19 vaccine slot availability alerts (along with the total number of available doses at a vaccination center) on your email address at your selected interval for the desired PIN codes in your city.
At any point, if you want to stop receiving updates anymore, you can open the Sheet and select Disable in Step-3.
Other COVID-19 Vaccine Trackers
Like we mentioned earlier, there are a few other COVID-19 vaccine trackers out there to find the available slots in your city. So, besides Labnol’s tracker that lets you schedule email alerts when slots are available, there is another tracker called Under45 vaccine tracker, which pulls up available vaccine slots for those in the age group of 18-44 in their city/district.
Similarly, there is another tool by the name Campsite that aggregates all the Telegram channels and Google groups collating COVID-19 vaccine availability alerts into a simple website. This one lists down the vaccine type (Covishield / Covaxin) as well, which is pretty useful. At the time of writing, Campsite has listed Telegram channels for Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Gurgaon, Ranchi, Mumbai, Pune, Kolkata, Patna, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, and more.
GetJab.in is a similar tool developed by ISB alumni, Shyam Sunder and his friends. The tool sends an email alert when vaccination slots open in your location. Another option is FindSlot.in which is also using the CoWIN open API to find vaccination slots in your area.
Fighting the Pandemic With Tech
The past year or so has witnessed the reliance of human life on science and technology — in case it was not apparent already. From scientists managing to develop vaccines to protect the world against the Coronavirus pandemic that is upon us in under a year to now people coming out in large numbers, using the power of social media to help other people, and individuals developing vaccine tracking solutions to make it easier for everyone to get access to vaccines quickly, we are experiencing the progression of technology taking unexpected forms to aid humans in fighting a pandemic.
Note: We will update this article with more trackers as we discover them. So make sure to keep an eye out.