Govt Asks People To Use Same Mobile Number For Both First And Second Covid Jabs, Here’s Why

There is a provision for scenarios where an individual may have provided two different identity proofs under the same mobile number registered.

The Co-WIN has successfully served as the digital backbone for India's Covid vaccination programme, the ministry said in a statement.
The Co-WIN has successfully served as the digital backbone for India's Covid vaccination programme, the ministry said in a statement.

The government has said that after receiving the first Covid vaccine shot, a beneficiary needs to book a slot or avail of the second dose with the same mobile number used at the time of the first dose for both doses to be tagged to the same beneficiary.

In case a beneficiary uses a separate mobile number for the second dose and schedules a vaccination, it will automatically be recognised as first dose for the beneficiary, the health ministry said, amid some media reports claiming that technical glitches in Co-WIN have resulted in two first dose certificates being issued to 2.5 lakh beneficiaries in Pune.

The Co-WIN has successfully served as the digital backbone for India’s Covid vaccination programme, the ministry said in a statement.

It has enabled the administration of over 190 crore doses of Covid vaccination for over 100 crore residents of the country who are registered on the platform, it said.

Such scale has been achieved without a single day of down-time, the ministry said.

An individual only needs to provide their mobile number for registration, along with minimal inputs in name, age (year of birth) and gender for scheduling an appointment for vaccination or availing a vaccine at walk-in.

As proof of identity, an option to choose from nine photo identity proofs has been accorded.

“However, it must be noted that after receiving the first dose of vaccination, a beneficiary needs to schedule for or avail the second dose of the same vaccine with the same mobile number used at the time of first dose of vaccination. This is the only mechanism for both the first and second dose details to be tagged to the same beneficiary,” the statement said. “In case a beneficiary uses a separate mobile number for the second dose and schedules a vaccination, it will automatically be recognised as a first dose for the beneficiary. Furthermore, the same identity proof is not allowed to be used across two different mobile numbers,” it said.

There is a provision for scenarios where an individual may have provided two different identity proofs under the same mobile number registered.

If the name, age and gender matches as per the photo ID proofs submitted by the beneficiary, CoWIN prompts for merging the two first dose certificates to give a single fully vaccinated certificate for both the doses, the statement said. The assumption that the system must recognise the two first dose certificates of a beneficiary registered with two different mobile numbers and photo ID proofs, is “preposterous”, it said.

“With a country of a billion plus, there may be hundreds of thousands of individuals with the same name, age, and gender. If such a service was provided, we would be left chasing our own tail, praying another individual with the same name, age and gender didn’t exist in the country,” the ministry said.

“Hence, calling a manual data-entry error a technical glitch is a baseless argument,” it said. There could be a scenario where a beneficiary gets their first dose of vaccination along with their spouse or parent, under the other person’s mobile number and their driving license, and the same beneficiary gets their second dose individually under their own mobile number with their PAN card, the statement said.

It should come as no surprise that the beneficiary would end up with two different first dose certificates, as the system would rightfully recognise these as two different individuals, it said.

Additionally, while such a manual data-entry error may have occurred, the CoWIN system is not ignorant to such possibilities and provides a robust grievance management system, the statement said. Always open to public feedback, CoWIN has built a feature called ‘Raise an Issue’ on the online portal. Eight issues that were commonly observed and widespread have been incorporated for individuals to digitally rectify, with a provision at CSCs and a helpline to call upon, it said. Similarly, any individual could also merge their two first dose certificates with ease, provided there is a match in name, age and gender and the two registered accounts are known to the individual, the statement said.

CoWIN is a versatile platform which has scaled up for the entire population of the country at a record speed, it said.

“It is rather disappointing to see a human error being characterised as a ‘technical glitch’ to discredit the competence of the team maintaining this digital public good day and night,” the statement added.

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