The Centre on Sunday said CoWIN, which is an online platform for monitoring Coronavirus vaccine delivery, shall form the foundation for the COVID-19 inoculation drive as it will be citizen-centric so that the vaccine is available anytime and anywhere. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier said that India's vaccination drive which is set to begin from January 16 will be the world's largest inoculation program. PM Modi also said that during this drive, priority would be given to nearly 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers.
As the country prepares for the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare held a video conference with officials from states and Union Territories to discuss on the efficiency of the CoWIN software and its operational use as it was used during the vaccination dry runs.
The meeting was chaired by Ram Sewak Sharma, the Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat Coronavirus and member of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19. Giving an overall view of the CoWIN software and the principles that shall underpin the technology backup for the vaccination exercise, Ram Sewak Sharma said robust, dependable and agile technology shall form both the foundation and the back-up for the country's COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Ram Sewak Sharma said, "The process should be citizen-centric and built on an approach that the vaccine shall be available anytime and anywhere."
Stressing on the need for flexibility without compromising on quality, Sharma reiterated that inclusively, speed and scalability have been kept in mind while designing the digital platform with all its components being portable, synchronous without excessive and unnecessary dependencies. Underscoring the importance of capturing the vaccination data in real-time, he said, "This is non-negotiable."
While stating that the beneficiaries of the vaccination drive need to be uniquely and undeniably identified, Chairman of Empowered Group of Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19 highlighted the caution one needs to exercise to ensure there is 'no proxy'. Later speaking about the use of Aadhaar platform, he advised the states to urge the beneficiaries to feed their current mobile number with Aadhaar for registration and consequent communication through SMS.
Sharma also mentioned that it is very important to clearly identify a person who is getting vaccinated and keep a digital record on who is getting vaccinated by whom, when and which one. This meeting was attended by principal secretaries of states, National Health Mission Directors, state immunisation officers and senior officers of the Union Health Ministry.
This comes after India recently granted emergency use authorization to 2 vaccines, Serum Institute of India's Covidhsield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. The Health Ministry said that both these vaccines have established safety and immunogenicity. After vaccinating healthcare and frontline workers, priority will be given to those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, together numbering around 27 crores, a government statement said.
(With PTI inputs)