Tech gone wrong: Failures of CoWIN App

Starting this thread to list down everything that has gone wrong with CoWIN App in practice. It’s another initiative by someone who felt tech is a golden bullet solution to all our problems.

The usage of Aadhaar and exclusion because of it is being tracked on another thread.

First story from a close friend of mine: got the appointment on the app, didn’t get the sms, went to the center and entry denied.

Reason provided: No sms no entry. What did the website say: the appointment confirmation will also be sent through the sms. It never mentioned that lack of sms meant no entry.

Do post your experiences and how it has worked out for you. Tech solutions should be built to be inclusive and not exclusive.


currently Maharashtra Gov is looking for CoWIN alternatives,

can we write to them with our concerns to make sure the alternatives are not as messed and exclusive as the CoWIN platform?

I’ve gotta add that the health system is probably very very confused now. There is a lot of miscommunication that can happen between the people who are setting policy from the center and the people who are executing it at the beginning of the queue. Technology that doesn’t consider the human factor is buggy at the core.


I penned down my thoughts on how CoWin makes India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive not inclusive of a large section of its population. Linking the article here:


Hi Sreedev,

Thank you for this great piece. @aparatbar and I have also written about technological exclusion and its effect on access to vaccines in today’s Indian Express.

Would love to hear other’s thoughts on the issue as well!


Wonderfully written!

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This might seem too miniscule change to be brushed under the carpet, but its important to note that NHA does not have a backing law and was originally an agency set for managing Ayushman Bharat - PMJAY and later cabinet approved (not parliament) them to handle Health ID.

CoWIN was originally to be run by MoHFW - as the vaccination management itself is being done by them. But this change to NHA (which is an ‘autonomous’ body) is dubious at best and criminal at worst.