India Needs A Robust Co-WIN Ecosystem For An Effective Covid Vaccination Drive

For large-scale immunization, the government created and launched COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) for real-time monitoring of the vaccination campaign on its administration and distribution.

Recent glitches in Co-WIN App, designed and developed by the government for calls for cohesive collaborations among all stakeholders to create a robust vaccine delivery ecosystem.

Vaccine administration to 1.3 billion people in India is a very challenging task. Success would largely depend on people’s active participation and engagement of multiple stakeholders. Before launching the world’s largest vaccination campaign, the government had realised the critical role of technologies to make it a successful exercise.

Leveraging India’s strength and experience in the usage of technology for large-scale immunization, the government created and launched COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) for real-time monitoring of the vaccination campaign on its administration and distribution.

Backbone For The Last Mile Vaccine Administration

For the last mile vaccine administration, the digital platform forms the backbone. 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, claims Union Health Ministry, the owner of Co-WIN App. As the vaccine drive began, it was found that there are some glitches in the digital system and that required urgent attention.

Initially, it was found that the government had not factored in people registering for vaccination in the first few days but not turning up. Technical glitches surfaced concerning the lack of provision to manage absentees.

The creation of a digital registration mechanism to add on another eligible to replace absentee was needed. The list needs to be updated and authenticated in real time to cover up absentees. Real-time authentication through Aadhaar is now being introduced for this feature.

Prem Sharma, Founder and CEO, DayToDay Health (DTDHI) said, “While the government’s efforts are in the right direction, the Co-WIN ecosystem needs to incorporate a stronger Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning ecosystem for the platform to work robustly and efficiently. To build scale, the government should look at third-party service providers to incorporate their efficacies and build a dynamic product that enriches the customer experience, while smoothly delivering on its purpose. With clear guidelines for leveraging Co-WIN, the private sector can build on and build around it.”

“An end-to-end tracking and traceability of the vaccine doses, right from the manufacturing location until the citizens are vaccinated is essential in making the world’s biggest vaccination drive a success. The program has to be live tracked and traced every step of the way. Tracking shots on the first day to the next round on the 21st day would be critical for data management, analytics, and avoiding lapses. Additionally, tracking and tracing is important to ensure quality and safety and eliminate black marketing and counterfeiting,” he added.

The Co-WIN platform is essentially an extension of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN). The Network digitises vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application.

It was widely used in 12 states when launched in 2012 to support efficient vaccine logistics management at cold chain points. Innovative Network supports India’s Universal Immunization Programme and provides real-time data on vaccine storage, stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points across the country.

According to experts, it is very important to clearly identify the person who is getting vaccinated and keep a digital record of who gets vaccinated by whom, when, and which vaccine. In the first phase, identified priority groups-healthcare professionals( 70 lakhs) and frontline workers ( 2.1 crore), would get the vaccine. By August 21, in the first phase only, 30 crore people including those above 50 years (26 crores) and other people with co-morbidities (1.2 crores) would be inoculated. Overall, the target is to cover all adult population (60%) in a two-year time.

For the success of 2-years long Immunization drive, India also needs to invest in a strong analytics engine for not only tracking purposes, but also for planning and predictive analytics to prioritize beneficiaries, identify target localities, manage Absentees, and improve the entire vaccine delivery system across target segments.

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