As per data shared by the MoHFW in response to a RTI application, more than 1.32 crore beneficiaries registered directly for the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine on the Co-WIN portal. While the exact scenarios in which such direct registration is allowed are not known, there are variations between states & age groups.
A vaccination certificate is issued to individuals in India after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine by registering on the Co-WIN platform. After the first dose, a provisional COVID-19 vaccine certificate is issued. The final certificate is issued after both the required doses are given.
The provisional COVID-19 vaccination certificate in India that is given after the first dose contains details like the beneficiary’s name, type of vaccine, date of vaccination, location of vaccination centre, and scheduled time period for receiving the second dose. The certificate is important as it is a confirmation that an individual has received the first dose and the eligible date for the second dose is based on this. It is also considered a valid proof of vaccination and is important to ensure that the second dose is not mixed up with that of another vaccine.
What are the issues with registrations & vaccine certificates?
Delays: Recently, there were multiple media reports about the delay in receiving the COVID-19 vaccination certificate. There were complaints that even after weeks of taking the first dose, they had not received their vaccine certificate. Delay in the issue of these certificates has raised concerns among beneficiaries since the eligibility for the second dose is dependent on this.
Errors in entry & non-registration: Moreover, with the increase in vaccination speed, errors in data entry, and technical glitches meant that individuals have received certificates with mistakes in date or names. Incidents of receiving multiple certificates as well as not being registered for the first dose in spite of having taken it were also reported from across the country. According to another report in The New Indian Express, from March 2021, at least 20% of the vaccinated in Kerala had failed to register because of a glitch in the Co-WIN portal. Those who do not register in the portal do not get the vaccine certificate and hence may not be eligible for the second dose. The registration on the portal is vital as it helps keep track of vaccination status and related statistics. Further, progress in vaccination is one of the criteria for vaccine allocation by the centre to the states. In June 2021, the government announced that one can make corrections to the name, year of birth and gender on the vaccination certificates if inadvertent errors had come in.
Merging two first doses: Since the mobile number is used as the primary identifier for registration on the Co-WIN portal, there have been cases where individuals have registered using two different mobile numbers during the two doses and ended up receiving two certificates but both for the first dose. In June 2021, the government has enabled merging of doses based on ID credentials in case people have got the 2 doses with different phone numbers. The two first dose vaccination certificates that a fully vaccinated individual receives, should be merged to get the final certificate of vaccination. Issues have also been reported in the merging process because of spellings errors and others.
Vaccine through the backdoor: Besides the issues mentioned above, there are individuals who took the first dose through the backdoor illegally when the vaccination was not open for his/her age group. Registration & slot booking for the second dose is an issue for such individuals who got their first dose ‘illegally’ with connivance of staff at government hospitals, primary health centres, and other vaccination centres as their first dose is not entered in the online database. Even though they can get the second dose similarly, they still may not get a certificate as their details are not registered.
Factly filed an RTI to know if there are provisions for direct registration of 2nd Dose in Co-WIN portal
Following such media reports, Factly filed a Right to Information application (RTI) with the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) to find out if there are individuals who registered directly for the 2nd dose on the Co-WIN portal without registering during their first dose. The following information was sought.
- Data on state-wise and vaccine-wise number of beneficiaries who were registered directly on the Co-WIN platform while taking the second dose and not during the first dose.
- Data on the age-wise and month-wise number of beneficiaries who were registered directly on the Co-WIN platform while taking the second dose and not during the first dose.
We received the response with the relevant data up to 19 July 2021.
When is direct registration for the second dose allowed?
We could not find any information in the public domain about the conditions or scenarios in which direct registration for the second dose is allowed. There could be multiple reasons like non-registration during the first dose, registration with a wrong mobile number, persons taking the first dose in a different country, taking the first dose illegally without registration when one is not eligible etc.
To know about such conditions in detail, we have written to the MoHFW seeking clarification on the following aspects. The article would be updated as and when a response is received.
- What are the scenarios/cases in which registration only for the second dose on Co-WIN is allowed? Who all are extended such a facility to register?
- Suppose an individual is registered for and administered only the second dose, will the same be counted in the first dose as well as the second dose?
- How does the vaccine inventory/doses number reconciliation take place in the case of an individual registered only for the second dose on Co-WIN?
- If there have been instances of individuals getting vaccinated without registering on Co-WIN for any of the doses?
Clarity on these would help us better understand the reasons behind such direct registrations and the variation among states.
More than 1.3 crore beneficiaries have registered directly for the second dose on the Co-WIN portal
According to the data provided by MoHFW in response to the RTI application, more than 21.6 lakh beneficiaries aged 18 to 44 years and over 1.11 crore beneficiaries aged 45 years and above, registered directly for the second dose on the Co-WIN portal. As of 03 August 2021, over 10 crore persons have been administered both doses of the vaccine according to the Co-WIN dashboard.
As per the data provided by the government, no beneficiaries were reported to have registered directly for the 2nd dose in January 2021 because India began the administration of COVID-19 vaccines only on 16 January 2021 in phases. The first phase focused on healthcare workers, and frontline workers like police, military, and sanitization staff, and those aged above 50 years. Persons with co-morbidities below 50 years of age were also included in this phase.
Most registrations among the 18 to 44 years group took place in March while among >44 years age group in April
Monthly data reveals that in the months of February and March 2021, the number of beneficiaries who had registered directly on Co-WIN for the second dose in the 18 to 44 years age group were more than their counterparts in the 45 years old and above category. It should be remembered that the Phase-II of the vaccination drive was rolled out from 01 March 2021 and 01 April 2021 and focused on vaccinating the most vulnerable population (those aged more than 45 years) and Phase-III was rolled out from 01 May 2021 making those aged 18 years and above eligible for vaccination.
However, since April 2021, the number of beneficiaries who registered for the second dose directly in the 45 years and above category witnessed a sudden spike. About 25 lakh such direct registrations have taken place in each of the months between April and June in the 45 years and above age group. The registrations in the 18 to 44 years old age group have also gone up from 1.77 lakhs in April to more than 4 lakhs in June 2021. The number of registrations in the 18 to 44 years old age group has crossed 4 lakhs in just 19 days of July 2021. This increase could be because of the increased gap between doses of Covishield which came into implementation from mid-May 2021. In other words, those who took the first dose of vaccine in March and April would become eligible for the second dose in June & July instead of May 2021.
90% of direct registrations among 18 to 44 years age group were from 16 states
State-wise data shows that 16 states together accounted for more than 90% of the direct registrations for the second dose in the 18 to 44 years age group. Each of these states had more than 50,000 such registrations in this age group. Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, and Maharashtra had more than 2 lakh such beneficiaries each, followed by UP, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Chhattisgarh with more than 1 lakh beneficiaries each. In UP and Gujarat, more than 1 lakh such direct registrations took place in the month of March alone. Among the top 16 states, most direct registrations took place in the month of March in 12 states while in the remaining four, June or July had the most direct registrations for the second dose.
12 states accounted for 81% of registrations among those aged 45 years and above
The trend across states for the 45 years and above age group is different from the 18 to 44 age group. Most states recorded an increase in the months of April and May. 12 states which had more than 4 lakh direct registrations each accounted for almost 81% of such registrations. UP, Karnataka, and Maharashtra, which are among the states with the highest number of second doses administered, had more than 10 lakh direct registrations each followed by AP, Gujarat, and Rajasthan with more than 9 lakh direct registrations each.
Andhra Pradesh has a higher Ratio of ‘Direct Second dose registrations to number of first doses’
With over 9.58 lakh direct registrations for the second dose across age groups, Andhra Pradesh ranks fourth among all the states. These direct registrations for the second dose amount to 6.6% of the first dose vaccinations in the state. Among the top-15 states with the highest number of direct 2nd dose registrations, Andhra Pradesh has the highest ratio.
The closest state to Andhra Pradesh is Karnataka with the direct second dose registrations at 4.7% of the total number of first doses administered in the state. Although U.P has the most direct second dose registrations, it accounts for only 3.1% of the state’s first doses administered.
86% direct second dose registrations were for Covishield
As of 03 August 2021, over 41.9 crore doses of Covishield and 4.73 crore doses of Covaxin have been administered in India. Among the two, Covishield accounts for almost 90% of the doses while Covaxin accounts for the remaining 10%. As per the data shared by the government in response to the RTI application, as of 19 July 2021, over 1.15 crore direct registrations for the second dose, accounting for 86% of the total were for Covishield, whereas over 18.3 lakh direct registrations accounting for the remaining 14% were for Covaxin.
Provision has been made for vaccinating foreign returnee Indians who have taken the first dose in a different country
On 23 July 2021, the Health Department of Odisha issued a circular asking the district officials to administer a second dose of vaccine to foreign returnees who have taken the first dose of Covishield or AstraZeneca outside India, if they register online. This announcement was made following the Union Health Ministry’s communication to the states. Going forward, this could be one scenario in which people could register directly for the second dose.
Featured Image: Second dose of COVID-19