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India will use Aadhaar authentication, considering biometrics for vaccination management

India will use Aadhaar authentication, considering biometrics for vaccination management

India’s government is planning to use Aadhaar biometrics for authentication of vaccine recipients through its CoWIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) app, according to a Health Ministry announcement reported by MediaNama.

The government is currently planning the rollout of a pair of vaccines recently approved by the Drugs Controller General of India, and those plans are expected to include the voluntary creation of a unique digital ID for health, and may also include facial recognition to register and track beneficiaries, or biometric devices for online and offline identification.

The Health Ministry has issued a notification approving the use of Aadhaar to generate Unique Heath Identifiers (UHID).

The healthcare and frontline workers who will be first to receive the vaccine do not need to register for the app, as their data is being imported into CoWIN from a bulk database, according to Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

The system is also expected to include QR-code certificates stored in a digital locker to prove vaccination, and Aadhaar authentication to prevent malpractice. MediaNama notes that in August the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) published statistics showing 11 percent of the population, possibly more, does not yet have an Aadhaar account.

MEITY is running a “Grand Challenge” to strengthen CoWIN’s capabilities, and accepting applications until January 15.

Other features of CoWIN may include geo-location for vaccine batches and digital tokens to manage vaccination queues and social distancing. Other suggestions on the MEITY site for this purpose include the use of Bluetooth and video analytics.

Vaccination-tracking systems and health passports, many of which will likely involve biometrics, are widely expected to be one of the critical issues of the year ahead.

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