A nationwide inoculation drive for India is quite a mammoth exercise. With the virulent COVID- 19 second wave underway, this exercise is being carried out at a rapid pace. The Government
of India has taken this challenge head-on and has already vaccinated approximately 1711.55 Lakh doses in total and this number is increasing swiftly. With the Government opening
vaccination for the 18-45 age group, we are seeing a greater acceptance of the vaccine in society. Many people are now also becoming the voice for the vaccination drive, as they share
their seamless experience and bust myths that have been doing rounds. However, this journey isn’t without its pitfalls.
Even though the government has begun speeding up the vaccination drive for the majority of the population, the rural section of society is falling behind due to a lack of awareness, education, and other infrastructural challenges. Having made it mandatory for people in the 18- 45 age group to book their slot on the CoWin portal, has led to umpteen issues, especially for those in the rural communities. Vaccine shortages are leaving many major cities with few vaccination slots and registration issues. It is, therefore, not too hard to imagine, just how difficult it will be for people in rural India to register for the vaccine and to eventually get inoculated.
India is already dealing with the issues of digital literacy since a majority of people in rural India don’t have access to technology or information. Even if we presume they do, they face a language barrier while booking their vaccination slot since the website is in English. This is the biggest roadblock for the vaccination drive in India’s rural areas.
Considering India’s multilingual demography, it is of utmost importance that we integrate a choice of language into the portal. This would help scale the vaccination initiative faster. During such times, we’re always set to extend a helping hand to ensure people living in rural areas get their slots. Our platform, Digital Dukan can help the Adhikaris reach out to these people, and releasing additional APIs would also help us book inoculation appointments for people in rural India. It is also important to devise a plan that notifies people about their second jab and therefore helps facilitate the second vaccination more effectively, through a positive first engagement. We also seriously need to consider the section of society that does not have identification documents like the Aadhaar Card. Currently, the Aadhaar Card number is mandatory for booking your appointment. However, we need to find solutions to make vaccination available to people with other identification documents as well.
The country is fighting a long battle against COVID-19 and while the government is putting their best foot forward to vaccinate the entire population, I think it is essential for us, private players, technology experts, corporates, and the entire ecosystem to work together, analyze the process through a wider lens and come up with solutions. Our mindfulness for proceeding with the next stage of vaccinations will help us reach out to a wider population. During a time like this, we all share the common goal of protecting India from another wave of this pandemic and saving lives. Let’s work together and develop a plan that offers solutions and serves the larger population of rural India.