"The world's biggest inoculation drive against coronavirus is set to begin in the country," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 4, after the DGCI's approval for the emergency use of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.
This brings up a very important question. How will India, which plans to vaccinate 25-30 crore people by July-August carry out its immunisation programme? The priority list has frontline workers at the top, followed by senior citizens over the age of 50 and people with co-morbidities.
When the vaccine roll-out will start, the centre is planning to carry out the mass inoculation program with the help of an app, Co-WIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network); an enhanced version of the government's (EVIN) Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network, which is used for real-time updates for vaccine stocks and temperatures of cold chain points across the country for distribution and tracking.
How the App will help with immunisation
There are 5 modules of the Co-Win platform:
-Beneficiary Acknowledgement Module
Once ready, people will have to self-register to get the COVID19 vaccine through the 'Registration Module'. Citizens who want to register for the vaccine will need a photo-id verification like the Aadhar Card, Driving License, PAN Card. Common Service Centres may be utilised for self-registration, wherever needed.
The vaccination module will verify the beneficiary details, beneficiary acknowledgement module will send SMS to beneficiaries.
Anant Bhan, Global Health, Bioethics and Health Policy Researcher, explains this as being as SMS to those who are registered for vaccination about the venue, vaccination reminders, and once a person has completed the regimen, a QR based certificate of vaccination completion will be issued.
The administrator mode will detail sessions for mass registration. This will include how many vaccination sessions have been conducted, how many people have attended it. District Admin (District Magistrate with support from District Immunisation Officer) will create a database of the vaccinators and allocate sessions for the inoculations.
The Report Module will monitor the vaccination turnout.
App is in the pre-production stage
Though the app is still in its pre-production stage, once ready, it will be available on Google App store, IOS and even Linux's KaiOS. Currently, it has the data of healthcare workers who will get the vaccine first. Over 75 lakh beneficiaries have registered during the dry run.
On December 23, 2020, the IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad invited applications from innovators and start-ups for a grand challenge 'to strengthen Co-WIN platform for rollout of COVID-19 vaccination program across India.'
While the top 5 applicants will be provided Co-WIN APIs (Application Programming Interface) to prove the efficacy of their solutions for possible integration with the platform.
What about people who don't have access to smartphones?
According to the guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, COVID-19 vaccine will be provided only to beneficiaries pre-registered in Co-WIN.
The question remains about how Indians without access to a smartphone and internet access will be able to download the app. A 2018 report by LIRNE ASIA, stated that while 71% of urban Indians have access to smartphones, only 55% rural India has the same access.
Bhan says that the government is likely to also deploy manual registration to ensure those without access to phones/smartphones can be on-boarded onto the app with the help of frontline health workers.
Updated On: 2021-01-04T19:30:20+05:30