September 11, 2021 3:22:00 am
With more workers gradually returning to workplaces and the government easing restrictions on travel, the Centre on Friday announced an update in the CoWIN platform that would enable employers, clients, and service providers to determine the Covid-19 vaccination status of beneficiaries.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said the new Application Programming Interface (API) on CoWIN — Know Your Customer’s/Client’s Vaccination Status (KYC-VS) will allow entities to verify whether an individual has been inoculated without having to check their vaccination certificate.
“As the 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 Ministry said.
It said KYC-VS will function like authentication of Aadhaar — the beneficiary individual will need to input their mobile number and name, and then the OTP that will be generated.
The response that is received will specify the individual’s status of vaccination: ‘0’ for unvaccinated; ‘1’ for partially vaccinated; ‘2’ for fully vaccinated. The response will be digitally signed, and can be shared instantly with the verifying entity, the Ministry said.
The government already issues digitally verifiable certificates which, once downloaded from CoWIN, can be saved on smartphones, tablets, or laptops, or stored in DigiLocker, and presented as proof of vaccination at various points of entry.
The new feature will be more convenient and quicker — enterprises, authorities, and employers will have the information at a glance without having to see the certificate. Also, where bookings are done in advance — such as for the Railways and flights — or for offices where individuals go every day, the vaccination information can be made available in advance or just once.
Currently, for accessing CoWIN APIs — both public and protected — third parties have to send their details to the government, and provide information on the purposes for which they would use the API, and the tentative number of employees/ customers/ users.
The Ministry said that for “quick integration and faster adoption”, the webpage with the API may be embedded “in any system”. “This will allow for seamless integration with any system in no time,” it said.
Besides entities such as airlines and/or airports, Railways, and employers, “this service may be utilised by any service provider, private or public, for whom verifying an individual’s vaccination status is critical for facilitating a service requested”.
The Ministry also said that the new feature will be “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,” it said.
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