India's COVID-19 vaccination marketing campaign encounters bumps as a consequence of app disruptions

By Rajendra Jadhav and Jatindra

SATARA / BHUBANESWAR (Reuters) – India's COVID-19 vaccination campaign took a hit on day one due to disruptions in an app called Co-Win used to coordinate the campaign, according to several officials involved in the vaccination program.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched what his administration has dubbed "the world's largest vaccination program" to contain the pandemic in India, which has reported the second highest number of cases after the US.

Co-Win, which was developed by the government, is designed to help by alerting first priority health care workers to get gunfire and by having officials monitor and manage the entire trip.

But many health workers who were supposed to receive the vaccines failed to get the news on Saturday, a senior official with the western Maharashtra state's health department said.

"We planned to vaccinate 28,500 people on Saturday, but were only able to vaccinate 18,328 people due to malfunctions in the Co-Win app," the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity as the details are not yet public.

Maharashtra, home of the financial center of Mumbai, has been hit hardest by the coronavirus of all Indian states.

India wanted to vaccinate more than 300,000 people on the first day, but only 191,181 people were vaccinated on Saturday, official data shows.

In the eastern state of Odisha, officials said they were forced to use hard copies due to problems with the app.

"We also followed our Plan B and contacted people to be vaccinated directly offline," Odisha director of health Bijay Kumar Mohapatra told Reuters.

The Indian government did not respond to a request for comment on Sunday.

"System performance and speed have been improved and will be further optimized," said Manohar Agnani, additional secretary for the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday.

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