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India to open-source its Co-WIN national vaccination booking platform

An eager queue has already formed in Asia, Latin America, and Africa — but do those nations know about the glitches, or the digital divide issues?

India has decided to open-source the Co-WIN platform it created to arrange bookings for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Doctor Ram Sewak Sharma, CEO of India’s National Health Authority, took to YouTube to proclaim the nation is “ready to offer this Co-WIN platform as a public good” to the nations of the world.

“It is being given as sort of a gift,” he added.

In a Tweet, Sharma said “Over 50 countries from across Central Asia, Latin America & Africa” have expressed interest in Co-Win.

India’s government on Monday announced that it had administered more COVID-19 vaccinations than any other nation, topping even the US total of 323 million jabs.

Co-WIN has been advanced as a system capable of operations at that scale and therefore suitable for any other nation.

As Doctor Sharma put it in his video: “This should help those countries with orderly and transparent vaccination programmes to run in their countries.”

But Sharma didn’t mention that Co-Win has also been plagued by glitches, that its web portal crashed soon after launch, or that the APIs the service offers to third-party developers have resulted in smartphone owners and the tech-savvy securing jabs before India’s less-fortunate population has a chance to register.

Nor did Co-WIN help India avoid a savage second wave of infections that saw the nation officially record over 30 million cases and almost 400,000 deaths — numbers that might significantly under-count actual infections and mortality rates. ®

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