New Delhi: A day after the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India will kick off on January 16, the Centre on Sunday (January 10, 2021) held a video conference meeting with the administrators from states and UTs on the CoWIN software.
The meeting was chaired by Ram Sewak Sharma, Chairman of Empowered Group on Technology and Data Management to combat COVID-19 and member, National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19. It was attended by the State Principal Secretaries, NHM Mission Directors, and State Immunisation officers and senior officers of the Health Ministry.
Sharma gave an overall view of the Co-WIN software and the principles that shall underpin the technical back-up for the COVID-19 vaccination exercise. He said that robust, dependable and agile technology shall form both the foundation and the back-up for the country’s COVID-19 vaccination which shall be the world’s largest immunisation exercise.
“This is an unprecedented scale of immunization,” he pointed out.
Addressing the participants, he stated that the process should be citizen-centric, and built on the approach that the coronavirus vaccine shall be available anytime and anywhere. He stressed on the need to be flexible without compromising on quality and reiterated that the inclusivity, speed and scalability have been kept in mind while designing the unique digital platform with all components being portable, synchronous without excessive and unnecessary dependencies.
The EG Chairperson underscored the critical importance of capturing the COVID-19 vaccination data in real-time, stating that this was non-negotiable; while the posting of data on the portal may be online or offline in view of connectivity issues being highlighted by few states.
He also highlighted the caution one needs to exercise to ensure that there are ‘no proxies’ at all; the beneficiaries need to be uniquely and undeniably identified, he strongly reiterated.
Speaking on the use of Aadhar platform, he advised the states to urge the beneficiaries to seed their current mobile number with Aadhar for registration and consequent communication through SMS as there cannot be any proxies for Aadhar authentication.
He stated that it is extremely important to clearly identify the person who is getting vaccinated and keep a digital record on who gets vaccinated by whom, when and which vaccine.
He also advised the states and UTs that the data collection should meet the purpose of facilitating work and that needs to be validated at the field levels.
There was also a detailed and comprehensive discussion on the experience of the states and UTs and their feedback and the consequent changes in software and protocols based on those inputs were deliberated upon. These included issues such as session allocation/planning/time slotting; Workflow allocation; Vaccinator’s allocation; Sending SMS to vaccinators and beneficiaries; and connectivity issues.
Earlier on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a high-level meeting to review the status of COVID-19 in the country along with the preparedness of the state and UTs for COVID vaccination.
The Prime Minister had taken a detailed and comprehensive review of the status of coronavirus management covering various issues.
Emergency Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety & immunogenicity.