New Delhi: The submission of details of different acceptable identity documents such as the Aadhaar and PAN cards etc to the government’s CoWin vaccination platform seems to have led to some citizens already being administered a full third Covid-19 vaccine dose in violation of guidelines. This is possible since the CoWin platform accepts details of different ID cards but is not able to detect if it’s the same person since there is no integration of these different identity cards on the platform.
The government’s CoWin platform chief on Monday confirmed to this newspaper that “there is no solution to this” issue as the “CoWin software cannot integrate different identity cards (of the same person) because it is not permissible legally”.
In one such case that came to the notice of this correspondent, a college teacher in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh who is in his early fifties furnished his Aadhaar card details to the CoWin platform and got his two Covishield doses on May 27 and August 28 last year. He also got a certificate from the Union health ministry that showed him as a “fully vaccinated” person. But just last month, he was offered a third dose and was told he would have to give his PAN card details this time. He agreed as he apparently assumed that a third dose was now being administered officially. Accordingly, on December 23, the college teacher received his full third dose of Covishield. Immediately after that, he received another certificate showing him as a “partially vaccinated person” who had got his first dose, obviously because the CoWin software viewed him this time as an unvaccinated person. When the fresh “partially vaccinated” certificate was issued, the academic realised that something was amiss.
When contacted for the government’s response, Dr R.S. Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority, which comes under the health ministry, and who is also the CoWin platform chief, told this newspaper: “There is no solution to this… The CoWin software cannot integrate different identity cards because it is not permissible legally.”
Dr Sharma further added: “One solution could have been if the details of only the Aadhaar card could be submitted, but this is (also) not permissible legally.” He added that the government expects citizens to be “honest” when they furnish their identity proof details for vaccination doses on the CoWin platform, adding that the CoWin platform can’t figure out on its own that it is the same person if details of different acceptable identity cards are furnished by the same person.
It may be recalled that just last week, the Centre had announced that those healthcare workers and frontline workers who have received two doses would be administered another “precaution” dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from January 10 on completion of nine months, or 39 weeks, after the date of administration of the second dose. The government had also said that all persons of 60 years and above with co-morbidities who have received two doses of the Covid vaccine will “on doctors’ advice” be provided with a precaution dose from January 10, again on completion of nine months or 39 weeks from the date of administration of their second dose.