The Centre has revised its guidelines for CoWIN API to allow COVID-19 vaccination slot booking through third-party applications.
The new guidelines read: “Co-WIN API Services can be offered to ASPs, who intend to or are providing COVID vaccination-related services and are registered for operations in India. Using the service, the approved organizations can avail the whitelisted data elements from Co-WIN in real-time. The ASPs can integrate the APIs with their applications to extend the quality and reach of their initiative.”
As of now, to register for COVID-19 vaccination and book slots, one needs to use the CoWIN platform, the Aarogya Setu app, or the UMANG app – all of which are government-run. Developers are only allowed to inform users about the availability of slots and download coronavirus vaccination certificates.
However, now it seems that soon, third-party apps will be given permission to register, schedule, and manage COVID-19 vaccination for their users.
The government has provided an email address through which developers can register as ASPs. Such registration will likely be mandatory for developers looking to use CoWIN’s public APIs. The guidelines read: “All entities (ASPs), wishing to integrate with Co-WIN using APIs, including for use of only the Public APIs, will have to first register as ASPs.”
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.
This would help address concerns of misuse of the CoWIN platform through bots and automated programmes.
The new CoWIN API guidelines come at a time India is struggling with an acute shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, making it difficult for people to book vaccination slots.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here