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How checking an Indian customer’s vaccine status is made possible through the CoWIN platform

In a few simple steps, employers or any authority can confirm the vaccination status of an individual.

A new Application Program Interface (API) called ‘KYC-VS’ or ‘Know Your Customer/Clients’ Vaccination Status’  has been launched for the CoWIN platform on September 10, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced. The API enables individuals to share their vaccination status with their employer or any other authority.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) allow a platform or service to connect to other platforms and services. APIs are an integral part of programming. So far, APIs have been used by third-party services to set alerts for available vaccine slots, book vaccination slots, etc. The latest API for the CoWIN platform goes beyond its original function of managing the vaccination drive.

How will it work?

According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the vaccination status will be made available by the following method:

Step 1: An individual will enter their mobile number and name.

Step 2: They will get an OTP which they have to enter.

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Step 3: In return, CoWIN will send a response to the verifying entity on the individual’s status of vaccination, which will be as follows:

0 – Person is not vaccinated
1 – Person is partially vaccinated
2 – Person is fully vaccinated

Apart from an API, the MoHFW said that it has also launched a webpage to get vaccination statuses. The API response will also be issued with a digital signature, as vaccination certificates have them, to ensure authenticity.

APIs and CoWIN: A timeline

April: The CoWIN platform which was first launched in December 2020, opened up a few read-only CoWIN APIs. However, a week before the launch, it had denied permission for using the API to Step One, a non-profit organisation (NPO) because there wasn’t a comprehensive data capture policy for CoWIN’s APIs in place yet.

May: When those in the 18-45 age group were first allowed to register for vaccines, resulting in a scramble for vaccination slots, multiple API-based third party services surfaced to find available vaccination slots based on the district or pincode. In the same month, the MoHFW finally issued guidelines for the use of CoWIN APIs by third-party Application Service Providers (ASPs).

June: On June 30, during the CoWIN global conclave, where the vaccination platform was extended as an open-source, digital public good to foreign countries, the government revealed that 148 third-party software, out of which 147 were private bodies, had integrated with CoWIN through APIs. Some of these were Vodafone, PayTM, and healthcare app Healthify.

August: Last month, the MoHFW announced a WhatsApp chatbot for booking vaccination slots.

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Written By

I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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