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CoWIN portal gets new security code feature: what’s changed?

CoWIN Covid vaccine registration: After complaints from registered users that they received a vaccination certificate despite them not getting a jab, the government has introduced a new security feature. Here are the details.

Written by Pranav Mukul , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: May 11, 2021 8:38:45 am
Has such a security feature been used earlier by other platforms?

A new feature has been added to the CoWin portal after some users complained of their vaccination certificate being generated despite them not getting a jab.

Now, anyone who has registered on the CoWin portal and selected a slot for vaccination will get a four-digit security code that they will have to produce at the vaccination centre to verify themselves.

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Why did CoWin introduce this new feature?

According to a statement by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, it was noticed that in some instances those who had booked their appointment for Covid-19 vaccination through the CoWin portal did not go to get their jabs on the scheduled date but still received a notification through SMS that a dose has been administered to them.

The ministry said that upon examination, it was found that this happened “largely on account of the vaccinator wrongly marking the citizen as vaccinated”.

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How does CoWin plan to counter this problem?

The portal will roll out a feature, Saturday onward, wherein a four-digit security code will be provided to the beneficiary. “After verification, if the beneficiary has been found as eligible, before administering the vaccine dose, the verifier/vaccinator will ask the beneficiary for the 4 digit code and then enter the same in the CoWIN portal to correctly record the vaccination status,” the government statement said.

This, it said, will ensure for those booking an online appointment, data entries are recorded correctly, and it will reduce opportunities of “impersonation or wrongful use of flexibilities provided in CoWin for facilitating vaccination coverage”.

Has this feature been used earlier by other platforms?

Yes, security features like these are typically used by platform services to reduce abuse of their platform by the service partners. Apps such as Ola give their customers a four-digit password when they book their cabs.

This password is unknown to the taxi-driver, and is to be provided to them by the passenger once they have boarded the car.

Similarly, for certain high-value goods, e-commerce companies send a one-time PIN to their customers, which they produce to the delivery agent to ensure that the item is handed to a verified person.

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