THE DISASTROUS CONDITION OF THE COUNTRY
The devastating health crisis is overwhelming the hospitals and it is also raising fear in the minds of people about a third wave of coronavirus that could be even more destructive. The daily toll of India of COVID19 cases reached record levels again and there were almost 3,980 deaths in the country on a single day.
The vaccination program in India started in January in phases for different age groups and finally opened up vaccines for age group 18-45 in the month of May. They could get the vaccine after getting themselves registered for an appointment on a mobile app or website that is created by the government from April 28.
As the stocks were inadequate for the 600 million people who were eligible everyone had a problem in finding a slot and the website repeatedly kept crashing due to high traffic volume.
YOUNG MINDS HAVE A SOLUTION
A method has been figured out by the tech-savvy youngsters of India to find a place in the COVID19 vaccine appointments in the middle of the dangerous spike of the coronavirus cases. They haven’t used any tricks or benefits, but rather they used their coding skills.
An investment banker named Berty Thomas residing in the city of Chennai was trying to find a slot on April 29th refreshing it again and again without any success, that’s when he understood that it would be way more efficient if he wrote out a code that would help him find the slot more easily.
He wrote out a very basic code which helped him to filter out the available slots in his city and booked his appointment. He also shared the code with his friends so that they could easily book the slots.
Soon after this, numerous people requested him to write codes that would filter out appointments for different cities too. He understood that people across the country were facing the same problem.
In three hours of time, he wrote down codes to find available slots in the major cities of the country and posted the link on twitter, people immediately started retweeting and sharing it.
There were so many hits to the under 45.in site that he had created once the extended vaccination rolled out on 1st May that it started crashed the server again. He then migrated it to a bigger server to accommodate more people requests.
He wasn’t expecting that his hack would go viral this way, he also set up telegram channels that would help in sending people notifications when the slots would be available. There are almost 60 channels as requests come in everyday from smaller towns.
As the situation getting worse and the pandemic increasing people have started taking help from online resources as they desperately search for urgent and live saving requirements like medications, hospital beds and oxygen cylinders.
Thomas has been adding more towns to his website and he feels that people who cannot navigate the site on their own shall be helped by others. He also says that the people thanking him and texting him makes him feel more motivated and heartening to work towards it.
Another developer Shubhendu Sharma also started the site findslot.in so that he can help his family and friends to get vaccination shots and be safe from the deadly virus. However, today his site has about 3,00,000 users from across some 400 cities in the whole country.
He says that he is doing his bit for the nation by providing an easy to use, fast and efficient search the slot tool.
Another data scientist from the Fractal Analytics, Bhavesh Bhatt has also created a Python script that can check the available slots for the vaccines of COVID19 slots from the Co-Win app. He says that “Tracking available slots for Covid-19 Vaccination Centres in India on the CoWIN website can be a bit strenuous.” “I have created a Python script which checks the available slots for Covid-19 vaccination centres from CoWIN API in India. I also plan to add features in this script of booking a slot using the API directly,”
When he was questioned about how did this idea strike to him, he narrated his experience of facing difficulty while navigating through the website after the vaccination drive started for the above 18 citizens. In order to ease out the process, he created the script after he found the public APIs shared by the government, he played with them and came up with the script. He is still exploring and might add more features to his site.
India’s is the world’s largest vaccine producer, but only 10% of India’s population has been vaccinated with at least one dose since January.
But as everything comes with drawback, this also has its own shortcomings. It is only favorable for a small percentage of people specially the English-speaking people who reside in urban areas and have a good access to internet and technology. But this can be solved if more people like them come up and help the people who cannot navigate through the website. This will result in everyone benefitting and fighting against COVID19.
TECHNOLOGY AND INITIATIVES BRING A CHANGE
The advancement of technology has allowed the common man to help others by sitting at their homes with a click of a button. It has also spurred several software engineers and people who enjoy coding to come up and help others.
Getjab.in and findslot.in are some of the verified sources that help in scouting and getting resources and handful of sites to secure vaccination slots. The publicly available coding of the CO-Win site is being used by the developers to create websites that can run searches automatically on the official site and post the results in regulated intervals.
This is a great initiative taken by the youth of the nation. While the whole country is falling into bits and pieces, people who have the skills and compassion to help people are taking a stand and doing everything possible from their side.