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The central government on Sunday held a virtual meeting with all administrators of the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) in states and Union territories, to ensure a smooth launch of the mass vaccination drive starting 16 January.

The Co-WIN software forms the backbone of the last-mile vaccine administration programme. Co-WIN was developed as an extension to the electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) module, a comprehensive cloud-based IT solutions platform for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of covid-19 vaccination in India.

The virtual meeting was chaired by Ram Sewak Sharma, chairman of the empowered group on technology and data management to combat covid-19, and member of national expert group on covid-19 vaccine administration. It was attended by state principal secretaries, national health mission (NHM) directors, and immunization officers, besides other senior health ministry officials.

State officials were asked to provide feedback on the Co-WIN software and its operational use during the dry runs, said officials of the Union ministry of health and family welfare who are spearheading the nationwide launch of the vaccination drive.

Sharma also made a presentation on the Co-WIN software’s role in the vaccination exercise. “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 immunization exercise. This is an unprecedented scale of immunization," said Sharma.

“The process should be citizen-centric and built on the approach that the vaccine shall be available anytime and anywhere. There is a need to be flexible without compromising on quality. Inclusivity, speed, and scalability have been kept in mind while designing the unique digital platform with all components being portable and synchronous without excessive and unnecessary dependencies," he said.

Capturing vaccination data in real time will be of critical importance, the government said. “This was non-negotiable, while the posting of data on the portal may be online or offline in view of connectivity issues being highlighted by a few states. One needs to exercise caution to ensure there are no proxies at all. The beneficiaries need to be uniquely and undeniably identified," he said.

Sharma also advised states to urge the beneficiaries to seed their current mobile number with Aadhaar for registration and communication through SMSes, as there cannot be any proxies for Aadhaar authentication. “It is extremely important to clearly identify a person who is getting vaccinated and keep a digital record on who gets vaccinated by whom, when, and with which vaccine. The states and Union territories must ensure that data collection meets the purpose of facilitating work and that needs to be validated at the field levels," he said.

The feedback of states and Union territories was deliberated upon and, based on the inputs, changes were made in the software and protocols. These included session allocation, planning, time slotting, work flow allocation, vaccinator’s allocation, sending SMS to vaccinators and beneficiaries, and connectivity.

Meanwhile, India’s covid-19 case count stood at 1,04,51,346 on Sunday with 18,645 new cases in the last 24 hours. Since the coronavirus pandemic began, 152,236 people have died from covid-19 since the outbreak.

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