Ahead of Covid vaccination drive, Centre guides states/UTs on Co-WIN management – Mint

New Delhi: With Covid-19 vaccination drive set to begin across the country from 16 January, Centre on Sunday guided states/UTs on Co-WIN management.

The Co-WIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) app is a digital platform created for real-time monitoring of Covid-19 vaccine delivery and distribution by the Centre.

States and UTs have been collecting data of healthcare and frontline workers who would be administered the anti-coronavirus vaccine on first priority and the data is being uploaded on the Co-WIN software.

“The Centre has been proactively carrying activities towards preparing for the nationwide roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in close collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders. The Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) today held a video conference with administrators from states and UTs on the Co-WIN software which forms the backbone of the last mile vaccine administration,” said Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in an official release.

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. The meeting was attended by the state Principal Secretaries, NHM Mission Directors, and state Immunisation officers and senior officers of the Health Ministry. During the meeting the feedback of the States/UTs on the Co-WIN software and its operational use, emanating from the dry runs, was discussed in detail.

Sharma gave an overall view of the Co-WIN software and the principles that shall underpin the technology back-up for the 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 immunisation, he pointed out. Addressing the participants, he stated that the process should be citizen-centric, and built on the approach that the vaccine shall be available anytime and anywhere. He stressed on the need to be flexible without compromising on quality. He 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 ministry said.

He also underscored the critical importance of capturing the vaccination data in real time, stating that this was non-negotiable. However, the posting of data on the portal may be online or offline in view of connectivity issues being highlighted by few states.

He also critically highlighted the caution one needs to exercise to ensure that there are ‘no proxies’ at all and that the beneficiaries need to be uniquely and undeniably identified. Speaking on the use of Aadhaar platform, he advised the states to urge the beneficiaries to seed their current mobile number with Aadhaar for registration and consequent communication through SMS and that there cannot be any proxies for Aadhaar authentication. He pointed out that it is extremely important to clearly identify 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 a detailed and comprehensive discussion on the experience of the states/UTs. Their feedback and the consequent changes in software/protocols based on those inputs were deliberated upon. These included issues such as: session allocation/planning/time slotting; work flow allocation; vaccinator’s allocation; sending SMS to vaccinators and beneficiaries; and connectivity issues.

India will launch its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16 in what Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called the world’s largest inoculation programme with priority to be given to nearly three crore healthcare and frontline workers.

The decision, the government said on Saturday, was taken at a high-level meeting where Modi reviewed the status of COVID-19 and vaccine preparedness across states and union territories.

“After the detailed review, it was decided that in view of the forthcoming festivals including Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal, Magh Bihu etc, the COVID-19 vaccination will start from 16th January 2021,” it said.

After 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 said.

According to the Health Ministry guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination, the latest electoral roll for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections will be used to identify the population aged 50 years or more.

The prime minister said that India will take a landmark step forward in fighting COVID-19 on January 16.

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