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NEW DELHI : The National Health Authority (NHA) is reviewing applications from more than 100 private firms to integrate their apps or portals with the CoWIN platform through the application programming interface (API).  The move is aimed at fast-tracking the national covid vaccination programme.

The majority of applications were from pharmaceutical firms, travel portals, state governments and banks.

Private firms that have applied for accessing the CoWIN API include Reliance (Jio Haptik), PhonePe, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Bajaj Finserv, Max Bupa, Vodafone Idea, Easytrip, Google, Ibibo, MakeMyTrip, ICICI Lombard, Max Healthcare, Infosys, Dr Reddy’s Labs, Paytm and Apollo Hospitals.

More than 36 government and private organizations have integrated their mobile applications or portals, while 213 more have been granted access, according to the NHA. Of these, 18 are government organizations and 195 are private enterprises.

Entities that have got the permission include e-pharmacies such as Tata 1mg and Pharmeasy. The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) in Mumbai and Dharwad, Canara Bank, National Informatics Centre, the Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh units of the National Health Mission, the health departments of Kerala, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh were also granted permission as the states seek to achieve higher vaccination rates. 

“Digital health companies like Tata 1mg can help mobilize beneficiaries and address vaccine hesitancy through communication, leveraging their vast digital footprint. The API integration will enable Tata 1mg users to book a vaccination slot at the network of vaccination centres approved by the government. This could be an additional place other than CoWIN where customers can come and book their vaccination slot," said Dr Varun Gupta, senior vice-president, Tata 1mg.

The Indian Space Research Organisation is also integrating its geoportal Bhuvan with the CoWIN portal to provide information on vaccination centre locations, availability, dosage and type.

Travel companies such as MakeMyTrip are also integrating their apps with CoWIN, with interstate travel opening up, so that visitors can produce vaccination certificates during a trip to other states. The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp., too, is using the service.

The CoWIN platform was launched to manage registration, appointment and scheduling for vaccination, besides issuing of vaccine certificates, by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.  It is being used by all participating facilities in India’s national covid-19 vaccination programme. CoWIN has published APIs for various functionalities.

R.S. Sharma, CEO, NHA, and chairman, empowered committee for administration of covid vaccines, said the intent is to enable various stakeholders, including states and UTs, private service providers, software developers and any other agency wishing to provide vaccination-related services to develop and roll out software solutions that are compatible with CoWIN platform to offer a better user experience and choice to people for easy access to covid vaccines. 

India aims to vaccinate its eligible population by the year-end. So far, more than 700 million doses have been administered. Around 11.3 million covid vaccine doses were given on Monday. “With third-party integration, we can make the vaccination drive more inclusive and people-centric," said Sharma.

This comes against the backdrop of at least 31,222 fresh coronavirus cases being reported in the past 24 hours with 290 deaths. The active caseload was 392,864, which is 1.19% of the country’s total positive cases. The daily positivity rate has dipped to 2.05%.

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