The Indian government has revised the existing guidelines for CoWIN public API making all third-party websites, apps and tools designed to notify people about COVID-19 vaccination slots in real-time pretty much useless.
The Indian government has revised the existing guidelines for CoWIN public API making all third-party websites, apps and tools designed to notify people about COVID-19 vaccination slots in real-time pretty much useless. The guidelines updated on May 5 state that “appointment availability data is cached and may be up to 30 minutes old” making real-time notifications basically redundant.
To be sure, many developers leveraged the public APIs offered by the government in assisting people with finding slots for COVID-19 vaccinations, making the whole process more convenient even as experience on CoWIN remains choppy at best. These websites send notifications to inform citizens about any vacant slot where they can book their vaccination in real-time.
“These APIs are subject to a rate limit of 100 API calls per 5 minutes per IP. Please consider these points while using the APIs in your application,” the revised government guidelines noted. As a result, the data used by the trackers like COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker for India, Under45.in, Getjab.in, and other Telegram groups will be delayed. The results that show up will not be able to help people get a vaccination slot.
It is to note that the government did not give any reason or clarity for these changes. This means that to check slots and booking a vaccination appointment, users will now only have the CoWIN site to refer.
Searching slots via CoWIN portal can be a cumbersome process and may take some time. In order to help people with this, many sites were developed simply to help people know when the next booking slot is available and if there is any nearby vaccination centre. Among the websites, Paytm was the latest to join for giving real-time updates on vaccine slots across India. Many of the sites have been giving filtered data on vaccines according to region and age group as well as what kind of vaccine is given at a selected centre.
On May 1, India started inoculating all people above the age of 18 for the COVID-19 infection. However, due to shortage in vaccine supply, finding slots to get a jab has become hard.