In 2015 and late 2020, the Government of India launched the ‘eVIN’ (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network) and the ‘Co-WIN’ (Covid-19 Vaccination Registration) portals respectively to effectively implement India’s universal immunisation programme (“UIP”). After the huge success of eVIN and Co-WIN, the Government of India has now launched an electronic registry, ‘U-WIN’, to digitalise India’s UIP. The U-WIN project has been launched in pilot phases to act as a unified source of information for immunisation services for pregnant women and newborns, recording deliveries and vaccination doses, and providing and storing online vaccination reports.
Immunisation of children mainly includes vaccination against diseases such as measles, tuberculosis, whooping cough, tetanus, rotavirus infection, hepatitis-B infection, etc.
INDIA’S UNIVERSAL IMMUNISATION PROGRAMME
The vaccines identified under the UIP are provided free of cost to beneficiaries in India. Presently, UIP aims to vaccinate and immunise 2.7 crore newborn babies and 2.9 crore pregnant women per year. India launched a special vaccination drive in 2014, ‘Mission Indradhanush’, to strengthen the immunisation programme for children in India. The significant initiatives undertaken in India for implementing immunisation programmes are as follows:
The UIP has significantly improved the infant mortality rate (IMR) in India from 50 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2009 to 31 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2021. Similarly, the under-5 mortality rate has decreased from 45 in 2010 to 25.5 in 2021.
Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0:
IMI 4.0 was launched in February 2022, with an aim to strengthen the immunisation mission of India which was disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic. The mission covered the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated children up to the age of 2 years and pregnant women. Three rounds of IMI 4.0 have been conducted based on high-risk focus areas, head count survey, and flexible session timings after witnessing a significant drop in immunization coverages.
THE PILOT STEP
- The Government of India has planned to launch the U-WIN project in 2 selected districts of every State and Union Territory from January 2023 onwards.
- For instance, the state of Himachal Pradesh has launched the portal in 2 districts, Solan and Sirmaur, where the estimated number of beneficiaries is 43,000. In these districts, 42 chain points shall be covered under the portal. The State has an estimated target of annually vaccinating more than 1,00,000 newborn babies and 1,27,000 pregnant women.
- The Government of Goa launched the U-WIN portal on 2 February 2023. The notification stated that “carrying vaccination cards of children and pregnant women, struggling to keep a tab on the next jab, and other such hassles may soon become a thing of the past.”
FEATURES OF U-WIN
- A common database shall be maintained to track the vaccination status of pregnant women and newborn babies across all states and districts.
- Immunisation cards shall be provided to the beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat Health Account (“ABHA”).
- The portal will allow individuals to track their vaccination sessions, digitally book their vaccination slots in advance, check the vaccination status, and download and store their vaccination certificates. Individuals can also check ongoing routine immunisation sessions and plan their slots.
- The hassle of maintaining physical vaccination records shall get eliminated with this project.
- The guardians of newborn babies can easily track the list of birth doses and subsequent vaccination timelines on the portal.
- Healthcare workers shall be able to generate real-time data of vaccination reports and plan immunisation sessions, routine sessions, and vaccination coverage in different regions.
The digitalisation of the healthcare sector in India has been a primary area of focus of the ‘Digital India’ mission. The Government has been working on different policies for implementing digital health services through telemedicine and securing digital health data under Ayushman Bharat health accounts, Co-win accounts, and the Unified Health Interface (UHI) initiative.
By digitalising the vaccination and immunisation programmes across different states and union territories in India, the Government shall be able to monitor and effectively plan the vaccine distribution in the affected areas where pregnant women and newborns have remained deprived of healthcare services in the past. The portal shall bring in the most affected crowd from the grass root levels of different districts and elevate the immunised health of the Indian population.
 “Intensified Mission Indradhanush 4.0, 2022, Operational Guidelines” (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) <https://imi4.mohfw.gov.in/assets/document/operational/IMI4.0_oprational_guidelines.pdf> accessed 23 March 2023.
 “UNICEF Data – India” (UNICEF) <https://data.unicef.org/country/ind/> accessed 23 March 2023.
 “Vaccination of children to be monitored through U-WIN portal” (5 February 2023, Information and Public Relations, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh) <http://himachalpr.gov.in/PressReleaseByYear.aspx?Language=1&ID=26896&Type=2&Date=05/02/2023> accessed 23 March 2023.
 “U-WIN Portal to be Launched on Feb 2” (1 February 2023, Department of Information and Publicity, Govt of Goa) <https://www.goa.gov.in/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/U-WIN-Portal-To-Be-Launched-On-February-2.pdf> accessed 23 March 2023.