India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16, with priority given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.

A woman health worker administering an injection to another womanImage for representation/PTI
Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - 17:36

As the first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines have started reaching various states in India, there is eagerness to understand how one can register themselves to get the jab. At the centre of this is the CoWIN (Covid Vaccine Intelligence Work) app, which, the Union government said on January 10, shall form the foundation for the anti-coronavirus inoculation drive which shall be citizen-centric so that the vaccine is available anytime and anywhere.

India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16, with priority to be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers. As part of preparations for the nationwide rollout of COVID-19 vaccine, the Health Ministry on Sunday held a video conference with officials from states and Union Territories to discuss feedback on the CoWIN software and its operational use gathered from the vaccination dry runs.

Here are five things to know about the platform, which will also be available as a mobile application.

- The CoWIN app is not yet available for public use and cannot be downloaded from app stores. The Union government has warned against fake apps by the same name on app stores, and has asked people not to download on register on the fraudulent platforms.

- After the app is launched, people will be able to see different modules on the platform. They can choose between self-registration, individual registration and bulk upload to get in line for vaccination.

- Given that the first phase of the drive will focus on healthcare and frontline workers, senior citizens and those above the age of 50 with co-morbidities, once a person registers their credentials will be used to ascertain if they fall in the priority groups. The government is also using electoral rolls to identify people aged above 50 years. Age will reportedly be ascertained using January 1, 2021 as cut-off, and anyone born on or before January 1, 1971 will be eligible to be vaccinated in the first phase, on priority. Further, the vaccination in these priority groups will be according to vaccine availability, not necessarily being sequential. People who do not fall in these groups will likely have to wait to get the vaccine.

- An individual can use the self-registration option on the app or the web with a valid photo ID, which can be one of the following: Aadhaar card, driving license, PAN card, passport, pension document, MNREGA job card, passbook issued by bank or post office, pension document, voter ID, service identity card issued by central or state government or public sector undertaking or public limited companies, or official identity cards issued by MPs, MLAs, or MLCs. Those conducting surveys as well as district administrators will have the option to register multiple beneficiaries on the platform. State and district authorities have been collating information for priority beneficiaries into the CoWIN app from the dry runs that have happened across the country. Only they can access the CoWIN app as of now.

- After the registration is complete, details about where and when they will receive the shot will be sent to the person. On-the-spot registration will not be allowed in any phase of the drive.

- The CoWIN app will also reportedly have information on nearly 25,000 cold chain facilities where the vaccines will be stored. The platform will also have tracking features to facilitate tracking of transportation of the vaccine from manufacturer to the beneficiary, along with storing data on vaccine inventory.

India has granted emergency use authorisation to two vaccines, Oxford's Covishield being manufactured by Serum Institute of India, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin. Both vaccines, the statement from the Health Ministry said, have established safety and immunogenicity.

After vaccinating healthcare and frontline workers, priority will be given to those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, together numbering around 27 crore, a government statement had said.

(With PTI inputs)

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