In its third phase, India is moving towards a contactless COVID-19 vaccine drive. For this, it is now preparing to add Aadhaar based facial recognition. The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has already started a pilot project to test its facial recognition algorithms based on a database of facial data obtained from the Aadhaar database.
National Health Authority (NHA) chief RS Sharma while speaking to The Print, said the entire vaccination process would become 'touchless' after the facial recognition for authentication is rolled out. The present process requires the beneficiaries to touch the scanner for iris-based authentication and also submit their fingerprints.
The pilot project has already begun in Jharkhand where the government had been conducting 1,000 authentications through facial recognition on a daily basis.
How the Face Recognition process works
Eligible citizens need to go to the Co-WIN portal on the Aarogya Setu app to register for the COVID-19 vaccination.
While doing the registration, they need to link their mobile phone numbers and Aadhaar numbers as the identification document.
Users who have chosen to authenticate their identity by using Aadhaar will have themselves automatically verified by using facial recognition.
Benefits of the Face Recognition process
The deployment of the facial recognition software would ensure a 'touchless' COVID-19 vaccination process.
The process becomes easy and goes contactless, hence it avoids the possibility of getting any infection at the vaccine centre.
Many questioned the tangible difference it would make to the efficacy and convenience of the entire process.
More users called for adopting steps to 'decentralise' the vaccination process.
Some called for data security credentials to be established before vital surveillance data should be collected.