World’s biggest Covid vaccination to begin in India soon, election-like preparations underway; details here

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New Delhi | Updated: January 01, 2021 6:31 PM

Covid 19 vaccination in India update: With the objective of gearing up for the roll-out of the COVID19 vaccine across the country, the dry run will be conducted by all the state and UT governments on January 2.

Covid 19 vaccination in IndiaCovid 19 vaccination in India update: The Dry run process is scheduled to be conducted in all State Capitals in at least 3 session sites. (Reuters image)

Covid 19 vaccination in India update: Election-like preparations are underway as India gears up to vaccinate frontline health workers, essential workers and identified immunocompromised population against Coronavirus. Revealing details of preparations, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that after completion of training of over 2,000 master trainers at the national level, the same process is underway at the state and district levels in more than 700 districts across the country. The lists of health workers have been created and documents will be uploaded on COVID platform, Dr Vardhan said on the first day of 2021.

“Just like we prepare during elections, the same way we need to train each member of all medical teams responsibly. The procedure is similar to conducting elections where the team at a booth is also trained,” the Union Health Minister said.

With the objective of gearing up for the roll-out of COVID19 vaccine across the country, the dry run will be conducted by all the state and Union Territory governments on January 2. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has already chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness at session sites for COVID-19 vaccination with other senior officials of Union Health Ministry, Mission Directors of National Health Mission and health administrators of all states or UTs through video conference.

The Dry run process is scheduled to be conducted in all State Capitals in at least 3 session sites. Some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support. Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their Capital, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.

Why Dry run process is required?

The objective of the Dry Run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN App in the field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guideway forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

The planning for the vaccine introduction will be as per the Operational Guidelines issued by the Ministry on December 20, 2020. For each of the three Session Sites, the concerned Medical Officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries, that will be healthcare workers. The states and UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries are uploaded in Co-WIN. These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. The States and UTs will prepare the facilities and users to be created on Cowin application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who will administer the vaccine has been taken up across various States. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose. As many as 2,360 participants have been trained in the National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in District level training in more than 710 districts, as per details shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

State governments are augmenting the helpline 104 which will be used in addition to 1075 for any vaccine or software related query. Orientation and capacity building of the Call Centre executives has taken place in the States and UTs, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

An important focus of the dry run will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels and preparation of feedback. The State Task Force will review the feedback and share with the Union Health Ministry, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

Between December 28 and December 29, the first round of the dry run was conducted in two districts each of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, and Punjab. A total of five-session sites with 25 beneficiaries each were identified. No major issues were observed in the operational aspects during this dry run. All States expressed confidence in the operational guidelines and IT platform for large scale programme implementation, the Central government said.

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