The government of India has begun hasty preparations for what will be one of the largest immunisation programmes in the world by the end of the year 2020. Their goals are to lower the number of deaths that could have been prevented by vaccinations, reduce the burden on the nation’s healthcare system, and pave the way for a return to normalcy. After only a few short months of development, the Indian government finally released a nationwide platform that coordinated the entire vaccine process, from manufacturing to distribution, from a single centralised location. The employees needed to come to terms with the new reality of physical separation and to work remotely while at the same time making efforts to reach a consensus and coordinate with a large number of senior stakeholders.
Establishing a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 was a significant step in this process. This group has supervised the entire procedure of introducing the vaccine in India with cowin app registration. This was an essential step. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 laid the groundwork for a unified effort. They did this by developing high-level cooperation with 19 ministries at the national level, 23 departments at the state and district levels, and a large number of different development partners.
What Does CoWIN Do?
CoWIN enables a more streamlined vaccination delivery programme by bridging the gap between cold storage locations, administrators, vaccine providers, and verifiers (individuals who check the identification of people who are to be vaccinated), as well as between public and private vaccination facilities and between vaccine recipients. The platform is designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of users and may be accessed using a mobile phone, a tablet computer, or a traditional desktop computer. The following figure illustrates some of the ways in which different parties can profit from CoWIN.
CoWIN fosters imaginative and original thought with its open application programming interfaces (APIs), making integrating with various platforms easier. Integration with other government mobile applications, such as Aarogya Setu, which is a digital solution designed by the government of India for contact tracing that identifies hot spots and helps in preventing the spread of infection. UMANG, which is a platform that allows all Indian citizens to access government services, was one of the goals of the developers of CoWIN. This helped the developers achieve their goal of rapid adoption.
The first phase of India’s vaccination drive targeted healthcare and frontline workers; the second phase targeted those aged 45 and above; and the third phase targeted those aged 18 and above; in January 2022, India started vaccinating those aged 15 and older and started administering precaution doses to healthcare and frontline workers as well as those aged 60 and above.
Enabling the Environment Before COVID-19
All of India’s states and union territories now have access to important digital health technologies because of the country’s increasing investments in digital infrastructure.
The Universal Immunization Programme is one of India’s largest public health programmes, and it is explicitly aimed at pregnant women and children. In 2015, the United Nations Development Programme launched the eVIN smartphone application to address existing inequities in vaccine coverage and digitise the Universal Immunization Programme. At least 12 vaccinations had their whole supply chains tracked by the eVIN initiative, including the measles vaccine and the Bacille Calmette-Guérin vaccine for tuberculosis. Other vaccines that were monitored included the polio vaccine and the rotavirus vaccine. Using the web-based SAFE-VAC reporting platform, adverse events after vaccination can be recorded immediately.
The government of India might respond to the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic by using the capacities it already possesses for disease surveillance and monitoring, as well as for managing technology, people, and processes across the vaccine supply chain. CoWIN is an all-inclusive tool for managing India’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign cowin registration since it combines eVIN and SAFE-VAC with other existing infrastructures and digital solutions. This makes CoWIN an all-in-one solution for managing the vaccine campaign (described in the section on adapting to a new challenge).
Adapting to a New Challenge
In July 2020, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Indian government concluded that this new platform would have to perform multiple functions simultaneously to provide complete support for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme across the entire country. As a direct consequence, the CoWIN platform was developed to bridge the gap between the numerous administrative databases. These databases include those of healthcare and frontline workers, hospitals, and COVID-19 vaccination centres, among others. Integration of extant infrastructures and plugins was done in order to facilitate the individual tracking of community members, which was requested by the ministry.
CoWIN has been able to interact with third-party applications and offers immunisation services to members of the community on a variety of various platforms because of its own application programming interface (API) policies. A good illustration of this is that the biometric digital identity tools Aadhaar and DigiLocker are incorporated into both the citizen and the vaccinator modules. Similarly, open-source tools such as DIVOC, DigiLocker, and SAFE-VAC were utilised in developing the certificate, the feedback module, and the adverse event after vaccination module.
Since it was initiated in January 2021, the CoWIN programme will have ensured that at least one dose of vaccine has been administered to ninety percent of the Indian population by the end of the year 2021. The ongoing commitment of India to expanding and improving its digital health infrastructure in general, as well as the platform’s widespread utility as a result of the adaptation of existing technology and architecture for quick integration and scale, proactive and collaborative decision-making by the government and its partners, and modular designs that can be quickly modified to meet emerging needs in a rapidly changing pandemic context.