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Digital platform to monitor COVID-19 vaccine delivery in India

The Union Health Ministry has developed a free digital platform and a mobile application to monitor COVID-19 vaccine deliveries in real-time. It will record data and enable people to self-register for vaccination.

The Health Secretary, Rajesh Bhushan, explained that there are five modules on the Co-WIN app: administrator, registration, vaccination, beneficiary acknowledgement, and report. The administrator module is for officials who will conduct the vaccination sessions.

The registration module is for people to get registered for vaccination. It will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities or surveyors. In the vaccination module, the user’s details will be verified, and in the beneficiary acknowledgement module, a certificate will be sent to them about their vaccination. In the first two stages, the government will vaccinate priority groups, which include frontline and emergency workers.

Co-WIN is an upgraded version of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN), which is an indigenously developed technology that digitises vaccine stocks and monitors the temperature of the cold chain through a smartphone application. It was first launched across 12 states in 2015 to support better vaccine logistics management at cold chain points. eVIN supports the central government’s Universal Immunisation Programme by providing real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country.

According to a press release, the existing cold chain system consists of 85,634 pieces of equipment for vaccine storage at about 28,947 cold chain points. It is capable of storing COVID-19 vaccines required for the first 30 million people, specifically, healthcare and frontline workers.

Currently, in India, there are about 30 COVID-19 vaccines in different stages of development. The country is among the top ten in the world in terms of the number of patents filed. Two of them are in the most advanced stage of development – COVAXIN developed through ICMR-Bharat Biotech collaboration and COVISHIELD from the Serum Institute of India. They are in the Phase-III clinical trial stage. The Indian Council of Medical Research is involved in their trial executions.

The country is also hosting clinical trials for all the major vaccine contenders. Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is conducting trials for the vaccine developed by Oxford University. Over 100 start-ups, supported by the government, have provided innovative products and solutions to overcome challenges posed by COVID-19.

In June, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) national healthcare supply chain portal was launched to provide information on the availability of critical healthcare supplies. These include primary medical supplies, diagnostic instruments and kits, auxiliary supplies, prosthetics and orthotics, dental equipment, PPE, and respiratory assistance devices, among others.

As OpenGov Asia reported earlier, the portal, AarogyaPath, will serve manufacturers, suppliers, and customers. During the present national healthcare emergency, where there is a severe disruption in the supply chain, the ability to produce and deliver critical items may be compromised.

The integrated public platform provides a single-point availability of key healthcare goods and will be helpful to customers with several routinely experienced issues. Some of these include the dependence on limited suppliers, time-consuming processes to identify high-quality products, limited access to suppliers who can supply standardised products at reasonable prices within required timelines, and a lack of awareness about the latest product launches.

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