CoWIN writes to PMO, MoHFW & NHA raising concerns related to CoWIN writes to PMO, MoHFW & NHA raising concerns related to CoWIN

Pursuant to its first letter to the National Health Authority (hereinafter the NHA”) and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (hereinafter the MoHFW), had put out a call on its social media platforms enquiring about the technical glitches faced by people due to CoWIN. received numerous emails, messages, and comments stating the glitches faced by various people on its posts.’s earlier letter had highlighted the urgent need to open up walk-in registrations for 18-44 age group, to consider the limitations of differently-abled and aged citizens in reaching vaccination centres, and to fix technical glitches in CoWIN. Unfortunately, the letter was not acknowledged by the National Health Authority or the Minister, Health & Family Welfare.

To raise these issues again with the Government of India, again wrote to the Prime Minister, the National Health Authority, and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare summarising the grievances raised by people to it. The grievances include:

  1. Delays in receiving OTPs : There have been delays in receiving OTPs or in some cases, people do not receive OTP at all. There have been cases where users have received multiple OTPs but could not login successfully despite this.

  2. Captcha : The addition of Captcha function has made it further difficult for those with bare minimum digital literacy and lingual literacy to register themselves on CoWIN. In certain cases, despite entering Captcha correctly, the CoWIN portal does not allow access to the scheduling tab.

  3. Receiving vaccination certificate without getting vaccinated : Several people have raised concerns that they received vaccination certificate – without getting any of the doses or after getting first dose but not the second dose. There have been instances where people had booked a slot of vaccine but were told by the vaccination centre that the vaccines were not available. Despite this, they received a vaccination certificate.

  4. Not receiving vaccination certificates: Some have not received their vaccination certificates despite getting the first dose or both the doses.

  5. Certificates carrying pictures or name of someone else, incorrect date of birth : There have been instances where people have received incorrect certificates with their names spelled incorrectly, different names or different date of birth.

    In addition to these, had raised other concerns related to CoWIN in its previous letter. These concerns highlighted the challenges with mandatory registration for vaccination via CoWIN for 18-44 age group. The concerns includes:

  1. Digital Exclusion : At a time when entire country is grappling with COVID-19, the objective of the government should be to ensure maximum vaccination. As of December, 2020, TRAI had noted that India has only 58 internet subscribers out of 100. According to an IAMAI report of 2019, India has around 40% internet users. Unfortunately, mandatory imposition of CoWIN for 18-44 will lead to digital exclusion of people, particularly those who do not have smartphones or an internet connection. While CoWIN allows 4 registrations per number, that does not necessarily mean that this deficit would be bridged. There have been several reports in the media regarding the fights between people from rural and urban areas at vaccination centres. The primary reason behind these fights is that people from urban centres are getting vaccinated at rural centres, thereby, depriving people from rural centres to get vaccinated.

    In addition to this, online registrations via CoWIN for those above 45 years of age has also led to a de-facto exclusion of those who do not have internet access or the digital literacy to access websites. This has made India’s vaccination drive somewhat of a hackathon — those with high speed internet and the technical ability to book vaccine slots by deploying APIs has deprived those who do not have these tools at their disposal.

  2. Digital & Lingual Literacy: This decision also does not consider the digital literacy of people. Significant number of people in the country do not have the digital literacy to be able to register online for vaccination via CoWIN’s website or mobile application. The CoWIN’s website only supports English making it further difficult for a significant section of people to register for vaccination.

  3. Lack of specific privacy policy: CoWIN does not have a specific privacy policy in place. Instead, the privacy policy is linked to National Health Data Management Policy which cannot be a substitute for a specific privacy policy. The Health Data Policy does not specify the personal data collected by CoWIN, data sharing with third parties, data retention, and deletion. had raised this issue in January, 2021. Still however, the CoWIN app links to the Health Data policy.

Through this letter, has suggested the following steps to be taken:

  1. Grievance helpline: Introducing a telephonic helpline and a proper functioning email address to look into grievances specifically related to CoWIN and vaccination process.

  2. Allowing walk-in registrations: Scraping down the mandatory requirement of CoWIN registration for 18-44 year old age group, and allowing walk-ins at vaccination centres.

  3. Decentralisation of the vaccine programme– Involve the local self government institutions in the process and take the vaccination drive to the people by making it easier for citizens to access vaccination centres. This should also take into account the concerns of the aged and the disabled.

  4. CoWIN specific privacy policy: Introducing a CoWIN specific privacy policy in compliance with the law laid down in Puttaswamy I (2017) instead of linking it to Health Data Management Policy.

  5. Fixing technical glitches in CoWIN: CoWIN has been marred by technical glitches since it was launched. We recommend you to kindly upgrade the technical infrastructure of the Portal to make it seamless.

You can read the letter here:

Related Posts