While countries like Canada, Mexico, and the United Arab Emirates have shown interest in the technology, the CoWIN system is not without its flaws.
India stands ready to offer the CoWIN platform as a digital public good free of charge to other countries that so wish, RS Sharma, CEO of the National Health Authority and Chairman of the Authorized Group for COVID-19 Vaccine Administration said.
CoWIN is the platform currently used in India to implement the Covid-19 vaccination program. It provides back-end facilities for healthcare facilities to manage vaccination stocks and workflow, and a front-end facility for citizens to find and schedule vaccination appointments.
The code for CoWIN will be provided as open source with no intellectual property rights (IPR) and will be given as a gift to countries that want an “orderly and transparent vaccination program,” added RS Sharma.
RS Sharma tweeted yesterday that over 50 countries from across Central Asia, Latin America and Africa are interested in the technology. “There is no platform in the world that has scaled to 300 million users and 100 billion hits within five months – CoWIN!” He said added.
#CoWIN has become popular! Over 50 countries from all over Central Asia, Latin America and Africa are interested #Technology. @PMOIndia directed us to use an open source version of the. to create #CoWIN free to any interested country. #DigitalIndia #DigitalTransformation
– RS Sharma (@ rssharma3) June 28, 2021
According to The economic timeCountries that have expressed interest in the technology include Canada, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Nigeria, Uganda, Vietnam, Iraq, the Dominican Republic, and the United Arab Emirates.
But CoWIN has its weaknesses
Preferred technically savvy: At the beginning of May we wrote about how the CoWIN system enables tech-savvy people to get the upper hand with bots when looking for vaccination slots. Even without these clever hacks, the CoWIN system largely favors the tech-savvy. If countries with low tech skills adopt this system as it is, it will result in many citizens being left behind due to the digital divide.
Not all have documents to prove their identity: In countries that are adopting the CoWIN system, especially in developing countries, citizens may not be able to provide a valid identification document, which is required for a system like CoWIN to function effectively. This can lead to many being denied vaccination for lack of identification.
Privacy issues: The CoWIN platform collects and processes sensitive data from citizens. Although there is no data protection law in India, the government has at least issued guidelines on how the platform should be used by third party developers. In the absence of such guidelines in other countries, citizens’ data and privacy are at stake.
Tech has a bug and is premature: Tech evangelist Sharat Chandra shared The quinta that the technology still has bugs and glitches that need to be ironed out, and that it is premature to lend the technology to other countries. “The platform did not evolve to cover all types of vaccinations in the country. The government should use CoWIN for Mission Indradhanush, the state vaccination program for children up to 2 years of age and pregnant women, and then offer the technology to the SAARC states, ”he added.