The Aadhaar-based facial recognition would soon be used for authentication of beneficiaries at COVID-19 vaccination centres, National Health Authority (NHA) chief RS Sharma said on April 6.
The NHA, on its official Twitter handle, quoted a portion of Sharma's interview with a publication in which he claimed that the facial recognition technology would be rolled out at "all vaccination centres" in the near future.
"UIDAI's facial recognition algorithms will soon be rolled out at all vaccination centres. A pilot was launched in Jharkhand, there we have been conducting more than 1,000 authentications via facial recognition on a daily basis, says @rssharma3 (sic)," the NHA tweeted.
Sharma, while speaking to The Print, said the entire vaccination process would become "touchless" after the facial recognition for authentication is rolled out.
At present, the beneficiaries are required to touch the scanner for iris-based authentication and also submit their fingerprints. Experts claim that a chance of spreading infections exist due to scores of beneficiaries touching the same scanning machines.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Sharma, who is also the former chief of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) -- the nodal Aadhaar body -- lauded the robustness of the technology used to build Aadhaar."Imagine a person who generated their Aadhaar card in 2011. Even after a decade, the software is able to recognise the face," he told the publication, adding that the pan-India usage of facial authentication at vaccination centres could begin after scaling the same up to 50,000 to 60,000 on pilot basis.