Beware of fake CoWIN apps on Google Play and App Store, the app is yet to go live

The CoWIN app is currently in its pre-production stage and hasn't gone live on Google play store or any other App store.

As the country is preparing to begin its coronavirus vaccination drive, the Indian government is working on an app called CoWIN, which well help users pre-register for the vaccine. The app is currently in its pre-production stage and hasn't gone live on Google play store or any other App store. However, taking advantage of the situation, many fake CoWIN apps have been listed on the Google Play store and Apple App Store. On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare also sent out a warning against the fake CoWIN app on app stores.

The fake apps ask users to register and demand sensitive information like Aadhar number, home address, name, and mobile number.

Adar Poonawalla said that Serum Institute was in the process of signing a larger contract with COVAX for 300 million-400 million doses of the vaccine. That is apart from two existing orders of 100 million doses each for the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and another one from Novovax.

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For the uninitiated, CoWIN or COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network is a remodelled version of the eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) app, which was developed in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The eVIN app was launched in August 2020. The app lets health workers and those handling the cold chain update information on vaccine stocks after every immunisation session and allows health officials to monitor vaccine stocks and flows and storage temperatures.

As mentioned above, the CoWIN app is currently under development. Once officially launched, the app will be available on Google Play Store and Apple App Store. Reports suggest that the app may also run on KaiOS devices.

CoWIN app: Who is it for

As per COVID-19 vaccination guidelines, the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered first to healthcare workers, frontline workers and to persons above 50 years of age, followed by persons younger than 50 years of age with associated comorbidities based on the evolving pandemic situation, and finally to the remaining population based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

Pre-registration on the CoWIN platform will be required for vaccination and there will be no provision for on-the-spot registrations at the vaccination sites.

CoWIN app: How to register

According to a News18 report, citizens who are not frontline health workers will be able to register for the vaccine via the registration module on the CoWIN app which can be downloaded from Google play store or the Apple app store. However, it is to be noted that the application is is yet to be launched.

Twelve photo-identity documents, including Voter ID, Aadhar card, driving license, passport and pension document, will be required for self-registration on the CoWIN website, the Centre had stated in the guidelines.

Following online registration, beneficiary will receive SMS on their registered mobile number on the due date, place and time of vaccination, a FAQ document had said.

CoWIN app: How it works

According to a Gizbot report, Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said the CoWIN app has five modules: administrator module, registration module, vaccination module, beneficiary acknowledgment module, and report module.

As per the News18 report, the administrator module is for administrators to further create sessions and the respective vaccinators and managers will be notified. The vaccination module will be for the verification of beneficiary details and to update the vaccination status. The beneficiary acknowledgment module will send SMS to beneficiaries and also generate QR-based certificates after one gets vaccinated.

The report module will prepare reports on details such as how many vaccine sessions have been conducted, how many people have attended those, how many people have dropped out.

The CoWIN mobile app would also send real-time data of temperature of the cold-storage facilities to the main server, Bhushan had said. This is mainly an expansion of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system that was launched in September.

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