back to article India’s vaccination-booking API criticised for excluding millions, containing bugs, and overflowing with elitism

As India struggles to cope with its savage second wave of COVID-19 infections, its government is being criticised for an API that critics say is creating inequities in the nation’s vaccination program. The API in question, Co-WIN, is designed to tap India’s vaccination-booking service and has been made available to third-party …

  1. Shadow Systems

    The complaints have a point.

    If you use a FeaturePhone & not a SmartPhone then you *can't* use an app to register for, schedule to get, nor to validate that you have received your vaccination. In a country where 2G, 3G, & 4G are their network backbone for cellular & less than 60% of their population can even use that to get online, how exactly do you propose the poor folks obey your demands to do what is technologicly impossible?

    "We made it a law that everyone drives on the right side of the road from now on." Umm, that's nice, but I don't own a car. Can't afford one. Not that it matters, the nearest petrol station to my home is over 100KM away. "That's beside the point! You are required to drive as we've made law!" Ok, you have fun with that. I'll walk on whatever side of the street I damn well feel like, kthanxbai.

    If you only have a 2G FeaturePhone & can only use it when you've got the spare cash to buy a ~10minute PAYG card, even if you COULD use the app, you couldn't afford the data rates it would burn through like a pirahna through a bleeding cow. =-(

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: The complaints have a point.

      Looks like they've managed to make a vaccination registration system that (inadvertently) excludes the rural, generally illiterate, poor. Who are also the subset of the population least likely to have access to good diet/nutrition and healthcare, and hence most vulnerable to Covid and the associated mucormycosis. And are also the ones who live day-to-day, hand-to-mouth, and are in real trouble if they lose even a day of health.

      I think it would have been more prudent - assuming they don't have enough vaccines yet to go around the entire population - to divide up their stock, go out to every village and corner of the land, and just start vaccinating people. Maybe the old/sick/infirm first. Keep a log. Maybe "permanent" ink hand-stamps to denote those who have been vaccinated. Repeat as necessary as new vaccine stock arrives. K.I.S.S.

      1. Short Fat Bald Hairy Man

        Re: The complaints have a point.

        Way too reasonable a suggestion.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: The complaints have a point.

          And definitely not sufficiently digitalised.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        Re: The complaints have a point.

        That way you might (inadvertently) vaccine a Dalit or a non Hindu

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The complaints have a point.

      But what if they could set up a call center, where people could call in and talk to "Sam" or "Angela", and the call center worker could follow a script and key information into a web form?

      I wonder if there is anyone who could do that. In India.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: The complaints have a point.

      Beyond access to the app, the fact that it is only in English is a major problem. It would be as if the American CDC's vaccine finder was only in Spanish.

      It points to the lack of concern of the Modi government for the poor.

  2. Brian Miller

    Privacy Policy??

    What's wrong with no distinct privacy policy? "Your data is public, shared with all interested, paying associates, and may be scattered across the globe when someone downloads the SQLITE database." That's an honest privacy policy. All of the dishonest policies claim that your private data is safe with them. Yes, so very safe.

  3. Cynic_999

    Not as big a problem as it is made out to be

    In my experience of visits to India, most Indians under the age of 20 or so will have at least part-time access to the Internet, be sufficiently tech-savvy to install and use a phone application, and understand English sufficiently to use the app. The people with severe problems will be the older generation - but those people are very used to asking a younger relative to assist with anything internet or computer related, and the youngsters are more than willing to help. The last time I visited a family in India I watched a 12 year old effortlessly set up chromecast for his grandparents and explain to them how to use it.

    Incidentally, that particular modest rented house had unlimited 75Mbps Internet supplied via FTTP, which cost the equivalent of £80 per *year* and had been installed & running within 24 hours after it was requested. Greater than 100Mbps is only slightly more expensive. Wish I had the same service where I live in the UK! OTOH a huge proportion of Indians would not be able to afford anything like that much money.

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