Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Govt augments CoWin platform to deal with next phase of vaccination – ET HealthWorld


The centre is augmenting the Covid-19 vaccine registration portal (CoWin) to process as many as 10 to 20 million registrations a day as it prepares for a sharp increase in usage with an aggressive expansion of the nationwide vaccination drive from next month, officials said.

User interface on the platform has been spruced up while existing features have been further simplified to cater to a larger proportion of the population expected to pre-register in the next phase drive that opens for those above the age of 45.

“We are expecting 4-5 million daily vaccinations in a week’s time and about 25-30% should happen through the CoWin platform,” a senior official told ET.

“There will be a lot of rush from April 1 with more people going for the vaccine since it has been opened for anyone above 45 years of age,” said the person adding that pre-registering on Cowin will make the process faster for both citizens and health authorities.

At present, daily vaccination in the country is estimated to be between 2.5 million to 3 million with only a tenth of those being vaccinated having pre-registered on the CoWin platform according to official estimates. Bookings on the platform are reckoned to be low as more people have , so far, chosen the walk-in option at local health centres and hospitals. But this could change as the number of people seeking vaccinations rises exponentially in the coming weeks , as those requiring a second dose also begin to seek appointments.

Government officials are of the view that pre-registering on the CoWin platform will help people beat the queue and hasten the process as identification details required for authentication will already be keyed in.

Official data shows that, so far, the highest vaccination in a day was registered on March 22 when close to 2.75 million people got the first dose while three lakh people were administered the second dose.

India has so far vaccinated over six crorepeople countrywide since January 15 when it first began vaccinating healthcare and other frontline workers.

To ensure more people opt for online booking, several features have been simplified such as visibility on slots available for users within their locality as well as log-in and registration prompt through the same OTP, officials said.

The software is also being modified to do away with the need to upload a comorbidity certificate at the time of online registration and onsite registration. It has also dropped the automatic booking of slots for the second dosage of the vaccine and is leaving it to people to register for it within 6-8 weeks of their first dose.

The government has also introduced an hourly monitoring mechanism to track the progress of vaccination drives, this will provide real time information on authorised centres that are not providing slots or offer visibility on other operational snags.

Such feedback will be directly monitored by the health secretaries in the state on an hourly basis through a dashboard. Regular emailers will also be sent to the health officials as well as the hospitals so that functionality of such centres can be reviewed, union government officials said.

In the initial days of its launch, the CoWin platform that was jointly developed by the ministry of health and ministry of electronics and IT faced several glitches including citizens not being able to register, the interface crashing and users not receiving text messages about appointment schedules. The government termed these as teething troubles in a vaccination drive, which is considered to be the largest in the world.

The government is also working on a communication drive to explain to people how they can register and book slots on the platform to drive up the numbers.

“The digital infrastructure, CoWin developed by RS Sharma is amazing. My friend in Seattle got his vaccination certificate scribbled on a piece of paper. My vaccination certificate was digitally sent and was QR coded, I got it on my phone within 2 minutes of my vaccination,” Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani said at a clubhouse session organised by Blume Ventures last week.





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