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Will CoWin’s unique process encourage a clean vaccine drive for India?

The CoWin app is the news of the Nation. An Indian extension of the eVin app introduced by the United Nations has developed t

The Nation has been through a lot during the past nine months. Millions of cases and thousands of deaths had hampered the decisive ability of the Nation. The frontline people like doctors and the police officers tried to control how things ran 24/7 every day for the past nine months. Doctors never visited their families for months due to the huge number of fatalities. The world was in lockdown for months, and people were desperate for a change, a blessing in disguise, a miracle, or whatever that helped them get back to normalcy. People who lost their loved ones were the most hit. Unemployment rates or labor turnover hit the roof, and it was the first time after many years that such a state of economic emergency was sensed.

Through this noise and tramples, some companies worldwide worked day and night to save the people who were suffering and those on the line. Serum Institutes and the medical organization worked tirelessly researching and understanding this mysterious yet deadly virus, which was the root cause of panic worldwide. These organization studies analyzed, researched, and created with all kinds of trial and error to build a vaccine that could be the solution to walking fearlessly once again. The world has seen drama so huge and interesting that its conclusion falls this year, the year that man awaits for safeguarding and protecting his life and those around him.

India had taken this challenge. A challenge that will put India on the line as the leader of the vaccine production. In August 2020, SII or known as the Serum Institute of India announced that it had already started studying the vaccine and taking a sample to kill it. Since then, countries around the world have rooted for India to make the breakthrough. Pfizer then announced that it was launching its version of the vaccine. China also announced its version of the vaccine, and it led to a flurry of hypocrisies and memes. If you have heard of Covishield, Covazin (1), you are reading the news. Trials were organized, and after many trials and assumptions, the results proved positive for the volunteers.

Months later, the plan for the rollout began in India. A drive that is so huge that it will be the world’s first and largest vaccination worldwide after the smallpox drive. Earlier, for stable rollout, the Gievrnemn t had launched an app known as “CoWin” (2) that alerted users about the vaccine update and allowed them to register for the vaccination drive. Millions downloaded the app in the day, and through the app, millions registered for the initial drive. On January 16th, Prime minister of India, Narendra Modi had inaugurated the drive virtually for the whole Nation. He advised that it was essential to defeat this virus by following the rules and regulations.

What is CoWin?

CoWin stands for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network. CoWIN or COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network is a remodeled version of the eVIN, also known as Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network app developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The eVIN application was launched in August 2020. The app allows health workers and those in charge of the cold chain to update vaccine stocks after each immunization session. It enables health officials to monitor vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures (3).

India started its Covid-19 vaccination drive on Saturday, with health workers being vaccinated in the first phase. More than three core health and frontline workers will be immunized during the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. The Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network or Co-WIN application will be the technology partner to support the digital exercise. The software will monitor the inoculation drive and track the recipients of the vaccination. It will facilitate information on the temperature of storage of vaccines, stocks, etc., in real-time. But the Co-WIN app can’t be downloaded from either the Android or Apple app stores, which means that you can’t be registered for a vaccine shot until further notice (4)

From the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Union, Harsh Vardhan has recently made it clear that the Co-WIN self-registration module has not been released. Citizens should remain alert to be duped by fraudulent applications with similar names asking for the beneficiaries’ details. “There are several apps named Co-WIN in mobile app stores, as well as several websites that claim to have an APK for the Co-WIN app. However, none of these applications are official applications for COVID-19 immunization,” the Ministry of Health said in a tweet. The application includes five modules: the Administrator module, the Registration module, the Vaccination module, the Beneficiary Acknowledgement module, and the Report module.

The CoWIN app is expected to be available to the general public on an online website and a mobile app within a month. Earlier, the Ministry of Health of the Union asked people not to download or register several fraudulent applications called ‘CoWIN’, which are available in app stores. “Some apps named ‘CoWIN’ created by unscrupulous elements that sound similar to the upcoming official government platform are on app stores,” the Health Ministry warned. “Don’t download or share personal information about them. The official MoHFW platform will be sufficiently publicized at its launch,” he added. He also added that one mustn’t try to download it from elsewhere only from the official play store or the apps store for privacy (5).

The CoWin app, which allows users to register for the COVID-19 vaccination, is currently unavailable for download from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, as India’s Government has clarified. The downloading of the CoWin app may be made available to users soon on a later date, and the same information will be distributed through official media. Prime Minister Narendra Modi today launched the largest vaccination campaign. According to the Government, almost 7.5 million recipients have already registered for a CoWin software vaccination (6).

How should one register for it?

You will need a photo ID to register. With the Administrator Module’s help, you will be able to track the information provided by citizens. “It will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities or by surveyors,” the government said last month. Administrators will be responsible for creating sessions, while appropriate notifications and alerts will be provided to the respective vaccine providers and managers. Once the Co-Win app’s vaccination module verifies the recipient’s details, you will receive an update on the vaccination status. The ‘Beneficiary Acknowledgement Module’ will then send SMS to recipients and generate QR-based certificates after being vaccinated.

Finally, the Report Module will prepare reports on how many vaccine sessions have been conducted, how many people have attended, how many people have dropped out, etc. The app will also ensure that you get a second dose of the vaccine on time. “A certificate will be issued after the first dose of the vaccine, and the final certificate will be issued after the second dose,” said PM Narendra Modi. It will also provide information on vaccine stocks and storage temperature during the Covid-19 vaccination drive in real-time (7).

Order and allotment of users

The first phase of the drive will be mainly for the healthcare professionals and frontline workers, senior citizens, and those over the age of 50 with co-morbidities; once a person registers their qualifications, they will be used to determine whether they fall within the priority groups. The government also uses electoral rolls to identify people over 50 years of age. Age is reported to be established on or after January 1st, 2021, as a cut-off. Anyone born on or before January 1st, 1971, will be eligible to be vaccinated in the first phase as a priority. Furthermore, vaccination in these priority groups will not necessarily be sequential, depending on the vaccine’s availability. People who do not categorize into these groups are likely to wait to get the vaccine (8).

The CoWIN app is also reported to have nearly 25000 cold chain facilities where the vaccines will be stored. The platform will also have tracking features to facilitate tracking the vaccine’s shipment from the manufacturer to the recipient and store vaccine inventory data. India has granted emergency use authorization for two vaccines, Oxford’s Covishield being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin (9). Both vaccines, as stated by the Ministry of Health, have established safety and immunogenicity. According to a government statement, following the vaccination of health and frontline workers, priority will be given to those over 50 years of age and those under 50 population groups with co-morbidities, totaling around 27 crores.

Hurdles and Glitches

The CoWIN application, which was used to count the recipients, had been glitching throughout the day, slowing down the inoculation process in places, officials said at the end of the first day of India’s massive vaccination drive on Saturday. In some areas, the Covid-19 vaccination drive hit a hurdle on the first day after the CoWin application, developed by the Center to monitor and track the inoculation process, developed glitches that led to the manual uploading of data from vaccinated individuals. According to the Ministry of Health’s interim report, approximately 3,000 frontline workers were expected to be vaccinated on the first day, but only 1,65,714 people were vaccinated. This was due to problems with the CoWIN app, and more than usual, time was taken to administer the vaccine at some of the district centers, officials said. Similar glitches from some districts have been reported in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttarkhand (10).

In West Bengal, health workers faced problems who uploaded data to the app about recipients receiving the vaccine across the state as the app slowed down and could not be operated. “There have been some technical glitches, and the app has been slowing down since Friday. Not all the messages went to health workers who were supposed to receive the vaccine on Saturday morning. The persons concerned were individually called and informed by telephone,” said a State Health Department senior official. On Saturday morning, when the vaccination drive started at 204 centers across the state had problems with the app.

On the first day of the immunization campaign, the government aimed to vaccinate more than 3 Lakh people in more than 3,000 vaccination centers. By the end of the day, 1.91 lakhs had been inoculated, he said. Government sources said that there was considerable hesitation among people about getting vaccines, explaining the shortfall in numbers. Health Ministry officials stressed that the drive was successful, there were no post-vaccine hospitalizations, and the only hiccups involved were with the CoWIN app. On the first day of vaccination, 65 percent of the frontline workers scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine jab in Maharashtra were inoculated (11).