More private firms seek integration with India’s vaccination platform: report

The National Health Authority of India is reviewing over 100 more applications from private firms for their integration with the country’s vaccination platform Covid Vaccine Intelligent Network or CoWIN. 

According to a news report, most of the applications were from pharmaceutical companies, travel portals, state governments and banks. Private companies trying to access the CoWIN’s application programming interface (API) also include hospital groups Max Healthcare and Apollo Hospitals.

Citing data from the NHA, the report noted that over 36 government and private groups have already integrated their mobile applications or portals with CoWin, while 213 organisations (mostly private) have been granted access to the API, including e-pharmacy companies Tata 1mg and Pharmeasy.

WHY IT MATTERS

In late May, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare released the guidelines for the integration of the CoWin platform with third-party applications. The move allows developers to include the vaccination platform’s API in their own apps, which then becomes an alternative avenue for Indian citizens to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Opening up the CoWIN API also pushes various stakeholders from the public to private sectors to provide vaccination-related services; develop and roll out software solutions compatible with the statewide vaccination portal; and offer a better user experience and choice to people for easy COVID-19 vaccine access.

Targeting to raise their vaccination rates, the health departments at Kerala, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh have been given permission to access the CoWin API. 

The integration of Tata 1mg’s platform with CoWin enables it to help mobilise beneficiaries and address vaccine hesitancy through communication, while also allowing its app users to book a vaccination slot. 

The news report also mentioned that the Indian Space Research Organisation is adding its geoportal Bhuvan to the CoWin portal to deliver information on locations of vaccination centres, as well as vaccine availability, dosage and type.

THE LARGER CONTEXT

Developed by the country’s health ministry, the CoWin portal is a multilingual website launched in January. It serves as the backbone of India’s vaccination drive against COVID-19 where users can book their slot, keep track of the country’s immunisation drive and download vaccination certificates. In July, India made its COVID-19 vaccination platform open-source for use by other countries. 

As of late, India administered over 700 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, fully vaccinating more than 11% of its total population.

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