Government of India’s COVID-19 vaccine registration website CO-WIN will start blocking users who are carrying out more than 1,000 searches for vaccine slots and those who are generating more than 50 OTPs within 24 hours time. An official told Times of India in a report that those who will be blocked for breaching this limit will only be blocked for 24 hours. The system will also log out users who make more than 20 search requests within a 15-minute session on Co-WIN. These measures come as the part of the effort to stop people from deploying bots or scripts on the Co-WIN website to automate slot booking.
“The idea is to ensure those booking slots manually do not end up competing bots," the official told TOI. He said that the website already has an option of public search for available slots on the portal, where users can look for slots without having to log in. Further, the official said that users making 20 or more requests within a very short period of time raise suspicion of bot activity. The ability to book COVID vaccine slots from multiple apps makes it easier for users to search for vaccine slots more frequently since they try on each app in order to secure a slot.
Recently, the government of India introduced a new set of guidelines for Co-WIN that allow third parties to enable registration, scheduling, and management of vaccination through their apps. This is an update to the existing framework where developers can only offer information on the availability of slots and facilitate download of vaccination certificates via their apps. Before this, government’s Aarogya Setu and Umang were the only two apps that allowed users to register and book COVID-19 vaccine appointments apart from Co-WIN.