The Health Ministry clarification comes in the wake of media reports about the Centre writing to the states and UTs, advising them not to share the data of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system on vaccine stocks and the temperature of vaccine storage at public forums without prior consent, and stating that it is a "sensitive information and to be used only for programme improvement".
"The crucial information related to specific vaccine usage trends for multiple vaccines used in Universal Immunization Programme (UIP), and temperature related data in respect to each such vaccine, can be used to manipulate the market as well as associated research with respect to various vaccines and cold chain equipments.
"It is important to note that the Union Health Ministry is using the eVIN electronic platform for all vaccines used under UIP for more than six years now. Sharing of sensitive E-VIN data on stocks and storage, temperature requires the Health Ministry''s prior consent," the ministry said in its statement.
The data on COVID-19 vaccine stocks, their consumption and balance is reflected on the CoWIN platform, and it is also regularly shared by the Union Health Ministry through weekly press conferences and daily press releases.
"The Health Ministry''s letter to the states and UTs in focus was intended to prevent use of such sensitive data for unauthorised commercial purposes," the ministry said.
The government of India is committed to transparency in the COVID-19 vaccination programme, and that is the reason it came up with a real-time IT-based tracking of vaccine logistics through CoWIN, it said.
The aim is to share the information with the general public on a regular basis, the statement said.
The government of India has been supporting the efforts of states and UTs for an effective vaccination drive under the “Whole of Government” approach since January 16 this year.
Several measures are being taken for timely availability of COVID-19 vaccines across the country. Streamlining its supply chain, including storage, is also given equal priority, the statement said.