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India-Wide Vaccine Dry Run Today as Govt Plans to Start Inoculation Drive Next Week

A medic demonstrates administration of COVAXIN, a government-backed experimental COVID-19 vaccine, to a health worker during its trials,  at the Urban Primary Health Centre at Tezpur in Sonitpur district, Assam. (PTI)

A medic demonstrates administration of COVAXIN, a government-backed experimental COVID-19 vaccine, to a health worker during its trials, at the Urban Primary Health Centre at Tezpur in Sonitpur district, Assam. (PTI)

The dry run is aimed at equipping the entire administration and management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management, the Union Health Ministry has said.

After successfully concluding the coronavirus vaccination dry run in four states, a similar mega-drill will be conducted in all states and union territories on Saturday.

An expert panel of the country’s drug regulator on Friday recommended emergency use authorisation be granted to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

The approval by the Subject Expert Committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) paves the way for mass immunisation with the vaccine to begin within the next few days.

The government wants to start administering the vaccine soon, most likely by Wednesday, news agency Reuters reported, quoting unnamed government officials.

The dry run is aimed at equipping the entire administration and management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management, the Union Health Ministry has said.

The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least three session sites. Some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support.

In Delhi, the three selected sites are Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Shahdara; Urban Primary Health Centre, Daryaganj; and Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka. While Maharashtra has chosen four districts -- Pune, Nagpur, Jalna and Nandurbar -- where three centres will be set up for the dry run, in Karnataka, it will be carried out in the districts of Bengaluru Urban, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamogga. Kerala is also likely to schedule the dry-run in major cities other than their capital.

"The objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation," the ministry added.

For each of the three session sites, the medical officer in-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The states and UTs have been asked to ensure that data of these beneficiaries is uploaded in Co-WIN.

These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. The states and UTs have also been asked to prepare the facilities and users to be created on CoWIN application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries.

The states and UTs have been directed to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, Internet connectivity, electricity, safety.

They have been asked to prepare at least three model session sites in each State for demonstration, ensure that the model sites have separate entry and exit in a 'three-room set-up' with adequate space outside for awareness generation activities, display all IEC material at these sites.

As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose.

About 2,360 participants have been trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in District level training in 719 districts. States are augmenting the State helpline 104, which shall be used in addition to 1075, for any vaccine and software related query.

Orientation and capacity building of the Call Centre executives has taken place in the States and UTs. States were also encouraged to use the FAQs issued by the Health Ministry proactively to address any such query.

An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission.

The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback. The State Task Force shall review the feedback and share with the Union Health Ministry.

On December 28 and 29, dry run for the Covid-19 vaccination was conducted in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot and Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam.

After a year which saw an unprecedented global health crisis, many are anticipating the coronavirus vaccine as India prepares for the inoculation campaign, which is likely to commence in January 2021.

The central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with comorbidities.

(With inputs from agencies)


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