This will cost you between Rs.900-1500/- and—if done right—less than 24 hours. (Free from 21st June)
Step 1: Install Chrome and Telegram
Step 2: Register on CoWIN portal
(Skip if already registered)
- Visit the CoWIN portal. Enter you mobile number. Add your OTP. Click on Register member. Fill in the details as applicable and click Register.
Congrats, you’ve registered yourself to book a slot.
Step 3: Visit under45.in
- Visit the site under45.in, if you are between 18-45 years of age and think the world revolves around you and your feelings.
(If you are forcing your daughter to get married, click on above45.in)
- Select the State and District where you want to get vaccinated. Click on the U45 or A45 group that shows up. Open in Telegram and in the app click on Join. (Check if it's 'Dose 1' or 'Dose 2' group, as may be applicable for you).
- Make sure the notifications for Telegram are 'on' on your phone and (maybe set a prominent alarm tone 📣).
These websites and Telegram channels have been created and maintained by Berty Thomas, Suchdeep Juneja, Likhit Agarwal and Vaccine Bangalore. Give them a shout-out on Twitter, if this helps you.
Step 4: Install CoWIN Bot extension
- Click on add to chrome then click on add extension
- Now click on extensions icon in the top right corner in Chrome.
- Pin the extension to the bookmark bar by clicking the pin icon shown below.
Step 5: Enter details in CoWIN Bot
- Click the extension and enter details
Age: As applicable.
Search Type: select ‘Pincodes’
Pin codes: Leave it empty. We’ll come back to this.
Vaccine: If you don’t have a preference, you are lucky! (Leave it on ‘any’.)
I wanted Covishield only, since it is approved in 130 countries. Covaxin and Sputnik are not recognised by WHO yet (as of 7th June 2021) and this may pose a problem if you need to travel outside India. (News sources: Read this, or this and, if you are a student, this.)
Price: You have to pay anywhere between ₹900-₹1500 (I didn’t find any Covishield vaccines for 18+ that were free).
Minimum slots: leave it on 1
Time slot: Definitely choose the first slot (9:00am - 11:00am).
Twitter is abuzz with stories/images of vaccination centres being mismanaged; right from cancelling confirmed slots to hours of delay. You most certainly want to get in early and get out early.
Number of runs: Keep this under 20. A new update logs you out of the site after 20 trials.
Wait time (in seconds): Start with 5 and tweak around.
The closer this number is to 1, the higher the chances of getting ‘Something went wrong’ error. Every time you are logged-out, you have to log-in with your phone number and OTP. This can be the difference between getting a vaccine shot and trying these steps endlessly.
Skip days: Set it to 1. This means the bot searches for slots from the next day.
Trying to get a vaccine the same day you are trying to book a slot, is impractical and rushed for most people.
Look until: Set this to ‘This week’ and not ‘Next 2 weeks’. So that you can repeat this again next day, if you are unlucky today.
Now click on Submit.
Step 6A: Specific vaccination centre, but slow process
- Once all this is done, grab a pen and paper (or an excel sheet).
- Open the Telegram group. Zero down on two or three Pin codes you are willing to go to (more the better). You can check the same on the CoWIN portal. Ensure those Pin codes offer the vaccine you are looking for. Scroll back a few days and check at what time the slots are being released. Make note of this 'release time' against the Pin codes on a sheet of paper.
- Now, log-in to the CoWin Portal via OTP, just five minutes before this 'release time' and click on Schedule.
- Then click the CoWIN bot extension, type in the Pin code for the corresponding 'release time' and keep the mouse pointer ready on ‘Submit’.
- As soon as you get the Telegram message, click Submit. The bot gets to work and you need to do nothing. Hopefully you are lucky and are able to get to the Confirm page. If not, try for the next pin code at the next time.
Step 6B: Fast process, but random vaccination centre
If you are willing to travel far and wide to get the vaccine, then skip the study of pin codes.
- Every time you get a Telegram message for your district (ensure its for your preferred vaccine) look at the pin code. Log-in to the CoWIN portal right away and click on Schedule. Then click on the CoWIN Bot extension, enter the Pin code you just received on Telegram and press submit.
- This method will almost certainly get you to the Confirm page.
- After clicking on confirm, you will get the appointment details as below:
- You don’t need a print-out of this. Just download the PDF on your phone and turn up at the vaccination centre.
- Congratulations, you booked yourself a vaccine slot!
- That’s it, Good luck!
Share this article with someone who might find it helpful!
Some tips and moral grandstanding:
- Don’t run Cowin Bot extension all day. That won't work. Use it only when you get a notification on Telegram, as mentioned.
- Get to the centre at least half an hour before. Sure, they recommend that you don’t turn up earlier than 15 mins and crowd. But the crowding will be far worse in case of an unforeseen delay. Don't crowd, nevertheless.
- If your city has a vaccine shortage, I recommend going by 6B method. That way, you may have to travel some distance but you will be done with the entire ordeal in one day. I travelled 125 kms (one-way) for the Covishield jab, #just saying.
- If this has helped you, then book slots for your maid, cook, driver, ‘house help’ and force them to go get the vaccine. They don't have the means to any of this tech. (And pay for their vaccine if necessary, your office organised a free camp na? Then?)
- Get the damn vaccine! Criticise the 'government's ineptitude' all you want after getting inoculated. It is more important to get the vaccine right now and be prepared for the next wave than to fault-find. And if you are a vaccine skeptic, why are you reading this far?!
- Did I already mention about sharing this article?
- Covishield vaccine FAQs—answers from the horse's mouth.