Only 3.5% of India’s 1.3 billion people have been fully immune to COVID-19

Paytm, Infosys and MakeMyTrip are among companies seeking approval in India to deliver COVID-19 vaccine reservations online, the head of the government’s technology platform said, as the country tries to facilitate the reservation vaccines for its huge population.

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The government relaxed the rules last month to potentially allow third-party apps to offer vaccine reservations and regained control of state purchases following delays and shortages. She also encountered initial problems with her own vaccine reservation platform.

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About 15 state agencies and private companies, which also include Indian health giants Apollo and Max, and online pharmacy 1mg, have applied to be allowed to offer vaccine reservations, RS Sharma said. , head of the government group managing the CoWIN vaccination registration platform. Reuters.

Softbank-backed digital payment app Paytm has over 100 million monthly active users and MakeMyTrip has 12 million. Their popularity offers more options for Indians looking to reserve their COVID-19 snapshots, especially if they are struggling with an unknown government platform.

“It will work in favor of the country, the union of all entities is better than one individual platform,” Sharma said.

MakeMyTrip CEO Rajesh Magow said the company is keen to help people book their immunization slots. 1mg said it was awaiting government approvals. Apollo declined to comment, while Paytm, Infosys and Max did not respond to Reuters queries.

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Only 3.5% of India’s 1.3 billion people have been fully immune to COVID-19 and health officials say the pace will need to pick up to avoid further deadly outbreaks of the virus, as the one that swept across the country in the spring.

While much will depend on a resumption of scarce vaccine supplies, experts say more booking options should help. Several software developers have already used publicly available coding for the CoWIN platform to create tools that send Telegram alerts to help people book slots.

“Right now, even if you find a niche using Alerts, you still have to go to the government website and take a lot of steps. Businesses will be able to provide a better user experience compared to CoWIN,” said Berty Thomas, a software developer who designed Telegram Alerts to notify people of slots.

Paytm has also activated a notification feature on its app.

Mr Sharma said vaccine supplies are expected to improve in the future and praised the CoWIN platform, saying at least three African countries – Zambia, Nigeria and Malawi – had asked to use it for their own vaccination campaigns.

“We will give them the portal for free and they can customize it. It’s highly scalable, ”said Mr. Sharma.