Those above 50 can use Covid app to self-register, choose vaccination site

On Wednesday, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired a high-level meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to review the progress of the vaccination programme.

With the second phase of vaccination targeting the third priority group — the 50-plus population — set to take off in the next two to three weeks, the government has decided that its flagship Co-WIN platform will be GPS-enabled, and beneficiaries, who can self-register on the app, will have the option of choosing the date and location of their vaccination site. Also, beneficiaries can use the app to update their age from what is reflected in the last electoral roll.

These are among the key suggestions that have been incorporated in the blueprint finalised by the Centre for the next round of vaccination.

On Wednesday, P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, chaired a high-level meeting with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba and Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to review the progress of the vaccination programme.

Top government sources told The Indian Express that a detailed discussion on version 2.0 of the flagship Co-WIN app — that will be used for self-registration by the 27 crore priority group of those above 50 — was discussed in the meeting.

“Co-WIN 2.0 is a hybrid model which will allow people to self-register as well as allow programme managers to access electoral data. And the beneficiary can download the Co-WIN 2.0 app. The facts and data will be crossed-checked against the electoral roll,” a source said.

A key feature of this round of vaccination, sources said, is that beneficiaries will have the option of choosing the date and site of vaccination.

“All these vaccination sites will be GPS-coordinate-embedded in the Co-WIN system. When a beneficiary logs on to the system, she can see which is the vaccination site nearest to her residence. The beneficiary can see whether it is a public or private hospital and can decide where she wants to get inoculated,” the source said, adding, “The beneficiary can take a call on whether to get inoculated at a vaccination site close to her residence or travel to where the beneficiary thinks is a better facility. The beneficiary will also have the choice of date of vaccination. The system will inform the availability of slots on that particular day.”

Second, sources said, the beneficiary will have the option of updating their age through the app, to claim that they are 50 years and above, and thus eligible for the latest round of vaccination.

“When we say ‘hybrid’, it means it is pre-populated — in the sense that suppose a beneficiary says that in the last updated voter list he was 49 years old and that his current age is 50, thereby making him eligible for vaccination, Co-WIN 2.0 will enable the district magistrate to pull out the electoral roll data to cross-check the beneficiary’s claim,” sources said.

Third, sources said, state governments will increase the number of vaccination sites and upload the details on the updated version of the platform.

Sources said session sites will scaled up to “four-to-five times” in the next phase of the vaccination drive. “Today, on average, we have 8,000 to 10,000 sites that conduct daily vaccinations; that will increase to 40,000-50,000 sites,” the source said, adding, “Presently, we only have 2,000-odd private hospitals which are being used as vaccination sites, while under Ayushman Bharat, we already have 12,000 private empanelled hospitals. All those will come. Also, states can incorporate other big private hospital chains that are not part of PMJAY.”

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