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Aadhaar to be used in COVID vaccine rollout to curb proxies

The Centre on Sunday (January 10) asked states to avoid proxies during the COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme through use of Aadhaar data.

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, during a virtual meeting held by the health ministry with administrators from states and UTs, 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 Union territories that the data collection should meet the purpose of facilitating work and that needs to be validated at the field levels.

He critically highlighted the caution one needs to exercise to ensure that there are ‘no proxies’ at all, that the beneficiaries need to be uniquely and undeniably identified.

Sharma advised states to urge beneficiaries to seed their current mobile number with Aadhaar for registration and consequent communication through SMS.

Also read: Tribal man dies after taking part in COVID vaccine trial in Bhopal

The Centre has decided to roll out COVID-19 vaccination from January 16, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been reviewing the preparations for the roll out.

Emergency use authorisation or accelerated approval has been granted by the national regulator for two vaccines – Covishield and Covaxin – which have established safety and immunogenicity.

The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine will provide priority to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers who are estimated to be around 3 cr, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 cr.

The health ministry will be managing the roll out through CoWIN software which ensures the last mile vaccine administration.

Sharma gave an overall view of the CoWIN software and the principles that shall underpin the technology backup for the vaccination exercise. Sharma stessed that the technology shall form both the foundation and the backup for the country’s COVID-19 vaccination which shall be the world’s largest immunisation exercise.

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 meeting was attended by the state principal secretaries, NHM Mission Directors, and state Immunisation officers and senior officers of the health ministry.

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