CoWIN appointment bookings to get COVID-19 vaccination slots are now allowed through third-party apps, with Paytm and Eka.care being some of the first platforms to offer the new experience. To book an appointment you just need to use the Paytm or Eka Care app on a smartphones instead of having to go through the self-registration portal. Earlier, apps were allowed to share vaccine availability status but the only way to get an appointment was by the Aarogya Setu or Umang apps, or visiting the CoWIN self-registration portal.
The government notified a change that allowed third-party apps to book vaccine slots last month, but it has placed some limitations on who can offer this facility. At this point, the Paytm or Eka Care apps not allow users can find their relevant centres and book COVID-19 vaccination slots for themselves and their families.
You can book a CoWIN appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine by visiting Vaccine Finder through the Paytm app. The Vaccine Finder service has been a part of the Paytm app since May and is available on the homescreen of the app. You can also find the service by using the search bar on the Paytm app.
“It is our endeavour to help India come out of this pandemic a lot stronger. Our vaccine finder will help citizens seamlessly book slots at the nearest centre and get vaccinated,” a Paytm spokesperson said in a mailed statement.
Once you've accessed the Vaccine Finder option on Paytm, you have to provide your PIN code and age group. There is also a section to look for a slot on the basis of your state.
After you select the details about your area and age group, you will need to select whether you want to book a slot for your first or second dose. You can then hit the Book now button. This will take you to the screen from where you can pick a centre where you want to take your vaccine dose, after which you will be asked to enter your phone number where you'll get a one-time password (OTP) from CoWIN.
Vaccine Finder on Paytm also lets you choose from the available free and paid centres and specific ones giving particularly the Covishield vaccine.
Once your booking is confirmed, the Paytm app will provide you with an appointment slip that you can show at your preferred centre to get your COVID-19 vaccine.
You can also book your CoWIN appointment for the COVID-19 vaccine through the Eka Care app. You can download the app on your Android or iOS device and once downloaded, you can book the vaccination slot by going through the Check Vaccine Availability card available on the homescreen of the app. You need to register with your phone number to book your slot.
The Eka Care app, just like Paytm, will show you relevant centres depending on the dose, type of vaccine, age, and fee type. Once booked, it will show you the appointment slip that you will be required to show at the time of vaccination.
Last month, the government updated CoWIN guidelines for API usage to allow booking of COVID-19 vaccine slots through third-party apps alongside the existing Aarogya Setu and Umang apps as well as CoWIN portal. Paytm, MakeMyTrip, and Infosys were among the early companies to partner with the government for the vaccine bookings through their platforms.
Disclosure: Paytm's parent company One97 is an investor in NDTV's Gadgets 360.