While the government's vaccine procurement and distribution policy is being deliberated at length, its COVID-19 vaccine related technology instruments display a more measured and targeted approach. CoWin seems like an innocent registration and vaccine tracking platform, but it is being used to populate parts of a National Health ID database under the National Health Stack (NHS) ecosystem. Though the government maintains that Aadhaar is not mandatory under its COVID-19 vaccination policy, the ground reality is far different. Through a combination of outsourcing CoWin's development, executive orders allowing CoWin to use Aadhaar data and some legal sleight of hand, the government has ensured that CoWin operates in an ambiguous legal environment. The platform was privately developed last year and later transferred under the Ministry of Health's ownership recently. In between, the government allowed CoWin to use Aadhaar data, based on which the National Health Authority (NHA) is creating Unique Health IDs. Many vaccine beneficiaries are surprised to find that their vaccine certificates came with a new Unique Health ID. While the government has a consent policy under CoWin, very few beneficiaries know about it. Nor are they aware that their Aadhaar IDs would be used by the NHA for a secondary purpose, apart from simple authentication for receiving the vaccines. A new PPP model As of May 29, CoWin had 244 million registrations, of which 167 million received the first dose of their vaccines which translates to 12.21% of the entire population or 17.67% based on the actual target population of…
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