New security feature added to CoWIN platform

New Delhi: In order to minimise errors and the subsequent inconvenience caused to the citizens for online appointments for vaccination, the government is introducing a new feature of “four digit security code” in the CoWIN application from Saturday (May 8).

In a statement, the Union Health Ministry said, “It has been noticed in some instances that citizens that had booked their appointment for Covid vaccination through the CoWIN portal, but did not actually go for vaccination on the scheduled date, have received notification through SMS that a vaccine dose has been administered to them.”

“Upon examination, it has been found to occur largely on account of the Vaccinator wrongly marking the citizen as vaccinated, i.e. an instance of a data entry error by the vaccinator,” it said.

After introduction of new security features, now after verification if the beneficiary has been found as eligible, before administering the vaccine dose, the verifier/vaccinator will ask the beneficiary about his/her 4 digit code and then enter the same in the CoWIN system to correctly record the vaccination status.

“This new feature will be applicable only for citizens who have done an online booking for a vaccination slot. The ‘4-digit security code’ will be printed in the appointment acknowledgement slip and will not be known to the vaccinator. The four-digit code will also be sent in the confirmation SMS sent to the beneficiary after successful booking of appointment. The appointment acknowledgement slip can also be saved and shown from the mobile,” the ministry said.

The ministry claimed that this will ensure that, for such citizens who have booked an online appointment, the data entries regarding vaccination status of a citizen, are recorded correctly and only for those who book online appointments and avail the services at the centre where they have booked the appointment.

This will also reduce the opportunities of impersonation and wrongful use of flexibilities provided in CoWIN for facilitating vaccination coverage.

The Ministry advised that the citizens must carry a copy (digital or physical) of their appointment slip and or the registered mobile phone with appointment confirmation SMS, so that the 4-digit security code can be furnished for easy completion of vaccination recording process.

It is also advised that the security code may be furnished to the verifier or vaccinator before the vaccine dose has been administered.

This is important as the digital certificate would be generated after the vaccine dose administration. Citizens must provide the security code to the vaccinator as the digital certificate will be generated only after the vaccination record has been updated with the security code.

“Citizen should get a confirmation SMS after the process has been successfully completed. The confirmation SMS indicates that the vaccination process has been completed successfully and the digital certificate has been generated. If one does not get the confirmation SMS, one should get in touch with the vaccinator/ vaccination centre in-charge,” the ministry said.