New Delhi, India, Jan 5 2021 -- As the government inches closer to begin India's mega Covid-19 vaccination drive, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday released a slew of features for its CoWIN app, which will provide every detail on the vaccination programme.
Short for Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network, the CoWIN app will be used to manage and scale up the massive vaccination drive amid the pandemic, the government said.
Among the various features, the CoWIN app includes automated session allocation, the health ministry said in a press briefing. One of the authentication methods would be to use of Aadhaar to prevent malpractice, officials said.
Other features include SMS in 12 languages, which will be sent to guide those waiting to get vaccinated and frontline workers who are engaged in inoculation process. A QR code-based vaccination certificate will issued after all the doses and people can store it in their mobile phone, the ministry said.
Moreover, the government's document storage app DigiLocker can be integrated to store and fetch the QR code-based certificate.
Apart from this, there will be a 24x7 helpline, chatbox with pattern recognition to help navigate the portal
SMS to be sent in 12 languages, 24x7 helpline, chatbox with pattern recognition to help navigate portal, digital locker for integrated data retrieval and storing of QR code certificate are some of the salient features of the CoWIN Delivery Management Plan.
Healthcare workers and frontline workers would not need to register themselves as a beneficiary as their data is bulk database that has been populated on the Co-WIN vaccine delivery management system in a bulk manner.
Moreover, at a press briefing in New Delhi, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, "There are 4 primary vaccine stores called GMSD located in Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata and there are 37 state vaccine stores in the country. They store vaccines in bulk and distribute further."
States are responsible for sending the vaccines to primary health centres and from there, vaccines will be taken to sub-centres through passive equipment like ice boxes.
Earlier, the government said multiple dry runs have been held to test the software in the field at various stages of its development. It said over 90,000 people in 700 districts have been trained to use the software.
There were 285 session sites across 125 districts in all states and Union Territories, it had also said.
The health ministry also added that the government is prepared to roll out Covid-19 vaccines within 10 days of granting emergency use authorisation.
"Based on feedback of dry-run, govt said it is ready to introduce COVID-19 vaccine within 10 days from date of emergency use authorisation," said Bhushan.
On 3 January, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Serum's Oxford COVID-19 vaccine 'Covishield' and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive.
DCGI granted the approval on the basis of recommendations by a COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
In a PTI interview earlier, Poonawalla said that the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine will cost $3-4 per shot ( ?219-292) to the Indian government and will be priced at double that rate in private market ones such sales open up.
Pune-based SII's shot is a Recombinant Chimpanzee Adenovirus vector vaccine (Covishield), encoding the SARS-CoV-2 Spike (S) glycoprotein with technology transfer from AstraZeneca/Oxford University.
On the other hand, Bharat Biotech has already produced about 20 million doses, Ella said, which will be increased to about 150 million before July or August. The firm has previously said its vaccine -- that uses a dead version of the virus -- has efficacy rates of at least 60%, though it has yet to release detailed data. Ella said Covaxin will feature in two peer reviews in international health journals on 10 January.
Meanwhile, in a joint statement issued by SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech's Chairman Dr Krishna Ella, the companies said that "the more important task in front of them is saving the lives and livelihoods of populations in India and the world."
"Now that two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued EUA (emergency use authorization) in India, the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that populations that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines," the companies said.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2021
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