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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Explained: What is KYC-VS, the new update on CoWIN to check vaccination status?

As the reopening gathers speed, CoWIN has got an update — 'Know Your Customer's/Client's Vaccination Status' (KYC-VS). Here are the details.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: September 11, 2021 8:43:04 am
A beneficiary receives a dose of Covid-19 vaccine, during a vaccination drive at Motilal Nehru Medical college in Prayagraj, Sept. 10, 2021. (PTI Photo)

With the economy gradually re-opening, the government has come out with a way for people to check the Covid vaccination status of their employers, clients or service providers.

The Health Ministry on Friday introduced an update on the CoWIN IT platform, where beneficiaries book Covid-19 vaccination appointments and download the digital vaccination certificates. The new update is called the Know Your Customer’s/Client’s Vaccination Status (KYC-VS).

What is the KYC-VS?

KYC-VS is a new application programming interface (API) launched on the CoWIN platform. The new feature will enable entities to check an individual’s status of vaccination through CoWIN.

Why has the new feature been added to CoWIN?

The health ministry said that it has been developed for purposes where an entity does not need to see the vaccination certificate in full, and would just need to know whether an individual has been vaccinated or not.

“As socio-economic activities are being gradually revived while maintaining everyone’s safety, there is a need for a way to digitally convey the status of individuals’ vaccination to entities with whom they may be engaging with for any or all reasons, as employees, passengers, residents,” the health ministry said.

Where can this feature be commonly accessed?

The government has specifically cited common instances where the new feature will be helpful.

First, when an enterprise or employer may like to know the vaccination status of its employees to resume functions in offices, workplaces.

Second, when the railways may want to get the status of vaccination of the passengers booking seats on trains.
Third, when airlines may want to get the status of vaccination of passengers buying tickets, and/or airports may want to allow only vaccinated passengers to pass through.

Fourth, it can be used by hotels, when they want to know the vaccination status of the residents at the time they are checking into the hotel, or at the time of making online bookings.

How will KYC-VS work?

It will be an Adhaar-like authentication service through CoWIN. To use this function, the beneficiary needs to enter her mobile number and name. Thereafter, they will get an OTP which they have to enter.

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.

This response will be digitally signed and can be shared instantly with the verifying entity, the health ministry said.

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Has the new API addressed issues related privacy?

Yes. The health ministry said that the new feature is both consent-based and privacy-preserving. “A real-life example could be when at the time of booking a railway ticket, an individual will input the necessary details for buying the ticket and if required, the concerned entity will also get the vaccination status in the same transaction, with the due consent of the individual,” the health ministry said.

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