With the current issues and circumstances around the COVID-19 cases and shortage of vaccination, the happy news was that individuals aged 18 years and above will become eligible to get jabbed. The biggest repercussion observed so far has been with respect to the Aarogya Setu app. The app provides a lot of vital information including the active cases and the proximity of the infected individuals. In comparison to the individuals aged above 45 years, who have an option to walk in to a hospital and get vaccinated, the latter is required to mandatorily register and book the appointment in order to get the vaccination.
As soon as the registration went live on the 28th of April, the server was clogged with multiple registration requests as a result of which the server crashed and the individuals weren’t able to complete the registration process. Individuals encountered numerous error messages, with some individuals’ mobile number not recognizing and some who weren’t receiving the One Time Password (OTP). Supposedly to be a seamless interface ended with the most unstable experience for every citizen in the country
Additionally, the CoWIN portal was also creating a lot of issues in regards to the registration for the vaccine. Some of the individuals experiencing error message stating – “the vaccine being eligible only for 45 years and above. Beginning at 4 PM on Wednesday (28th April), every one over 18 can enlist themselves on the CoWIN entrance or utilizing the Aarogya Setu application to get inoculated against COVID-19, the Union Health Ministry said as the public authority outfits to dispatch the third period of the immunization drive from 1st May. However, tragically, the entry smashed as Netizens took to their Twitter handles to share the obstacles they were encountering. Furthermore, some of the users were getting 504 error messages and that the CoWin servers were either unavailable or facing difficulties to retrieve the user details. According to latest reports, the vaccine registration app is now working fine and as many as 75 lakh registrations were made within hours after signing up was open for adults. The CEO of MyGov.in Abhishek Singh claimed that CoWIN platform received almost 434 million API in the last few hours.
This comes even as the Centre had earlier announced that the CoWIN app and Aarogya Setu app would be open for all citizens above 18 years of age for the vaccination drive beginning May 1. Senior officials from the Union health and family welfare ministry said Wednesday’s issues were caused by unprecedented traffic. We have successfully handled a peak load of 55,000 APIs hits per second. The team is working together improving the capabilities of the system to ensure that all those who register and book appointments will be vaccinated in a convenient manner.” Though the app lets you register it doesn’t let you book the appointment or schedule an appointment as the government is yet to decide the list of hospitals who will be able to cater this requirement as the population that falls in the bracket of 18-45 is the maximum. The app was heavily criticized for its privacy issues during its launch since a year and it seems it is still not even close to being called a usable app.
Huffington Post had published an article regarding the privacy issues with the use of the app. Before the app was made mandatory, Vrinda Bhandari of Internet Freedom Foundation told The Quint that this would have to be done “under the authority of law, and will have to satisfy the necessity and proportionality test for the violation of privacy – this will look, for instance, what is the data being collected, how long is it stored for, what are the deletion protocols in place.”
It wasn’t enough to mandate its use under the Disaster Management Act, there needed to exist a law that authorized the app’s use. “Any such law has to be specific and explicit with respect to the rights that it seeks to infringe, the bases of infringement, the procedural safeguards that it establishes, and so on,” lawyer and legal scholar Gautam Bhatia wrote in The Wire. Hope these issues don’t create a bigger mess as potentially vital information (Aadhar card number) have been uploaded in the server and stays secure as the country inches towards the final phase of the vaccination drive.