What to do if vaccination centers mandate Aadhaar verification for COVID-19 vaccines

Hi everyone! Sending positive energy to you and all your loved ones in these trying times.

With great personal difficulty, I have managed not to ever enroll in Aadhaar. With reports of trials of Aadhaar-based FRT authentication (covert national health ID seeding program), there is a very real possibility that furnishing Aadhaar could become voluntarily mandatory in the near future, regardless of public advocacy by IFF and fellow citizens. If that were to become reality (won’t be surprised given historic precedent), what recourse exists for those of us who don’t have Aadhaar (either by choice or circumstance)?

Will we be denied vaccines until we enroll? Who do we reach out to for help and legal course correction? Is IFF an appropriate point of contact?

I don’t want to sound alarmist, but I am worried for my life and for those in a similar position. What’s already true is that getting mid to severe covid symptoms for someone like me is almost a guaranteed death sentence as hospitals ask for Aadhaar card to provide oxygen! I want to stop panicking :’(

Hi!

We understand these very real fears, especially in light of media reports about the plan to involve Aadhaar based facial recognition technology in the vaccine rollout process. However, the fact of the matter is that mandating Aadhaar for COVID-19 vaccines has no legal backing. So, if someone at the vaccination centre asks you for your Aadhaar, you can point to the following three documents:

  1. Co-WIN portal FAQs: Question 7 in section A clearly states that other ID proofs may be used instead of Aadhaar.
  2. Lok Sabha unstarred Question no. 876: The Minister of State, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey responded to a question regarding the need for Aadhaar, and said that Aadhaar is not mandatory for registration on the Co-WIN portal.
  3. RTI (No. MOHFW:R:E:21:00604): The response to the RTI clearly states that Aadhaar is not mandatory for vaccine regstration on CoWIN or Aarogya Setu.

In the meantime, IFF will be keeping up the fight against Aadhaar in the vaccination process - we’ve recently put out a joint statement with other organisations to accompany a letter we sent to the National health Authority, asking them to refrain from deploying facial recognition technologies for Aadhaar verification.

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Hi Rohin!

Thank you so much for your detailed response with links to the relevant documentation. This is super helpful :slight_smile: If this is IFF’s position on the matter, would it be alright if I shared your response with friends and associates who are also concerned about Aadhaar wrt to vaccines?

I might post follow-ups to this thread if/when related issues arise. I want to thank you again for getting back to me ASAP.

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Aadhaar is already virtually mandatory for things it shouldn’t ever be used for. Two recent personal examples-

  1. A distant family member’s Assam based Aadhaar became a blocker to her finding admission to a government COVID hospital in Uttar Pradesh, with the Aadhaar address being cited as the reason for denial. Took about 24 hours to resolve, we were lucky to be able to, and the patient to remain alive while this transpired.
  2. A family member’s cremation was blocked in Noida at a time when there was insignificant load at the cremation center, citing Ghaziabad Aadhaar.

Whilst these instances have no linkage with the vaccination access aspect, but these serve as examples of how Aadhaar gets abused as a tool for procedural exclusion. I don’t know how a large multitude of these instances can be rolled up into a story good enough to stand in court, against use of Aadhaar.

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I wanted to post about this. Aadhaar is not mandatory for cowin. Government has said this again and again. But as with lots of things Aadhaar, this again does not apply on ground. My local government operated polyclinic is Aadhaar only. Would not touch you if you do not have Aadhaar. Online registration does not matter. You have to stand in line and get a paper slip where a guy takes your data again and puts in (or verifies) on the government portal. You need Aadhaar. Aadhaar number is again entered in a paper register where actual vaccination is taking place.

The other thing I wanted to talk about here is the problem with government issued IDs. My house help is from Nepal. Travel between Nepal and India does not require passport, so he does not have it. I have checked with local bank branch where Aadhaar was being issued. They require two local IDs to generate Aadhaar. He does not have a single local ID. Passport might have helped but as I mentioned above, he does not have it. From my own experience, it is impossible to get a covid test without Aadhaar. From online reports, it seems that getting into a hospital also pretty much requires Aadhaar. And eventually, some form of local id (Aadhaar likely) would be needed for him to get the vaccine. I have no idea how I can help him with his situation. Sure, he can travel back to his village later this year and get vaccinated there. But what if vaccine certificate becomes mandatory for entering Nepal? I am clueless what to do to ensure he gets vaccinated in coming months. And what I would do if he became ill while he is staying with us.

It seems like, it is just taken by default that everyone residing/working in this country has Aadhaar (or at least another local id). This guy is unlikely to be the only one in this position.

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Exactly my fear. I almost know what response to expect from folks at the vaccination center when I try to show them the 3 documents from above. It’s likely not going to help and I’d have to stay unvaccinated for couple of months until I can hopefully travel abroad and get the jab. If vaccine certificates are mandated for travel, I’m royally screwed.

I’m planning to record the officials at the vaccination center if they deny based on lack of furnishing Aadhaar. Get them on tape explicitly stating that only Aadhaar is accepted, and share here and on Twitter

By the way, sign the Joint Statement on exactly this issue here!

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Hi, this has already started and is having exclusionary outcomes, as predicted!

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What is the current situation with Aadhar and linking up with vac please?