CoWIN: Myths Vs Facts

There have been some media reports alleging that technical glitches in CoWIN have resulted in two certificates being issued to 2.5 lakh beneficiaries in Pune district for taking first dose of COVID vaccine.

CoWIN has successfully served as the digital backbone for India’s COVID-19 vaccination programme. It has enabled the administration of over 190 crore doses of COVID-19 vaccination for over 100 crore residents in India that are registered on the platform. Such scale has been achieved without a single day of down-time.

The platform takes pride in its simplicity and ease of use. For registration on the platform, the beneficiary is provided three media – walk-in (offline), online portal and assisted through helplines and CSCs (Common Services Centres). 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 vaccinationor availing a vaccine at walk-in. As a proof of identity, an option to choose from 9 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. In case a beneficiary uses a separate mobile number for 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.

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 matchas 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 assumption that the system must recognise two first dose certificates of a beneficiary registered with two different mobile numbers and photo ID proofs, is preposterous. 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.

Hence, calling a manual data-entry error a technical glitch is a baseless argument. 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. 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.

Additionally, while such a manual data-entry errormay have occurred, the COWIN system is not ignorant to such possibilities and provides a robust grievance management system. 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. 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.

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



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Source PIB