India will be role on how to vaccinate billion people at scale, in trusted manner: Nilekani

Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani on Friday said with the ongoing efforts around systematic rollout of COVID-19 vaccine to citizens, India will be a role model on how to vaccinate a billion people at scale and in a trusted manner.

The Infosys co-founder also noted that the pandemic has brought changes in consumer behaviour and accelerated adoption of digital services across sectors like healthcare and education that has brought down the cost of customer acquisition for startups.

Speaking at Redseer’s Ground Zero 4.0 event, Nilekani spoke on how to build for scale in India that presents a massive opportunity with a booming internet penetration and rising adoption of digital services.

Nilekani said while the ongoing vaccination is focussing on healthcare and frontline workers, the vaccine production in India in the next four to five months will be more than ample to vaccinate more people.

“What’s important is that the vaccination should be recorded online, real-time with proper authentication of identity, so that we can make sure that the person gets the message that they have to come back in three weeks for the next round, and that everybody should be issued a vaccination certificate,” he said.

Nilekani highlighted that the government has done a great job by issuing digital vaccination certificates to those getting vaccinated as these can be stored in mobile phone and be presented when asked for.

“India is one of the first countries in the world which has actually implemented this infrastructure for vaccination certificates. So I believe that if we do all the right things, India will be a role model on how to vaccinate a billion people at scale, speed, and in a trusted manner,” he added.

According to an official statement, nearly 10.5 lakh people have been inoculated under the countrywide COVID-19 vaccination exercise as on January 22 till 7 AM. In the last 24 hours, 2,37,050 people were vaccinated across 4,049 sessions and 18,167 sessions have been conducted so far, it said.

Nilekani also talked about the opportunities that the pandemic has brought in.

“In the post COVID-19 world, demand has gone from push to pull. The reason for that is the infrastructure has (been) rolled out and there’s a huge growth in data (consumption), cheap smartphones are plentiful, more people have internet.

“COVID-19 has shown a dramatic acceleration in the use of digital platforms, and therefore, we are seeing all kinds of new ways of engaging,” he said.

He cited the examples of online learning, telemedicine and e-commerce segments that have seen massive growth after the pandemic-induced lockdown was enforced.

“COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital and made more people comfortable with digital technologies…(it) would have cost you billions of dollars and many years to bring consumer behaviour change that has now been brought in by this pandemic. This acceleration has reduced years of behaviour change to months and weeks,” he said.

Nilekani called this trend “good news” for startups as they now have to invest less in pushing their product.

“…now there is a natural pull, which comes out of the behaviour change. I think it’s a good time for startups,” he added.

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