On 16 January 2021, India launched the largest vaccination drive under the vision of Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Technology has played a crucial role in bringing the idea of universal vaccination closer to reality. The CoWIN platform has been developed to be the digital nerve centre of India’s COVID-19 vaccination process. However, with evolving technology and the country’s large population, some challenges need to be addressed.
To initiate a dialogue on how technologies such as the CoWIN platform can propel the vaccination drive towards the ultimate goal of Universal Vaccination, Center for ICT for Development (CICTD), IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi and The Dialogue organized a panel discussion on “Strengthening CoWIN Platform towards Universal Vaccination” on 16 June 2021. To set the context for the deliberation, IMPRI’s team began the session by providing a brief overview of the CoWIN platform, its features, challenges and steps taken by the government.
John Santosh, Entrepreneur and Technocrat, tailored his address to provide five solutions to make the platform more efficient. The first is to enable Voice on the platform for those who cannot read any language. It would entail allowing citizens to record their responses. The second is to develop an SMS bot for mass awareness campaigns. While referring to the infrastructure that existed at the time of demonetization for creating awareness, Mr John argued that the same infrastructure should be revived.
His third solution concerned itself with promoting the concept of One-Click Vaccination through utilizing digital tools that already exist. His fourth solution presents the possibility of CoWIN for corporations to organize health check and vaccination campaigns, thereby making the vaccination process a part of CSR. His final recommendation put forth a case for instituting Vaccine Warriors through provisions of financial incentive.
Mr Santosh emphasized reducing data entry on the CoWIN platform, especially the role of humans so that errors can be avoided. From the point of view of security, Mr Dubey argued that it’s crucial to recognize that the security process is an evolving phenomenon, and there invariably will be new challenges and actors that would deliberately target.