Science

Covid-19 vaccine dry run in four States next week

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 25, 2020

To test preparedness of the system to cover 30 crore people in the first round

A dry run for Covid-19 vaccination would be carried out in eight districts of four States – Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab – on Monday and Tuesday to test the preparedness of the system to carry out the mammoth task of innoculating 30 crore people in the shortest possible time, a Health Ministry statement said on Friday.

Earlier this week, Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had said Covid-19 vaccination could commence any time in January, provided the Drug Controller General of India clears any of the vaccine candidates that have applied for accelerated approval.

Each State will plan it in two districts and preferably in different (five) settings such as district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, and rural outreach. “This exercise will enable end-to-end mobilisation and testing of the Covid vaccination process (except the vaccine) and check the usage of Co-WIN in field environment, the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms and identify challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation including improvements that may be required in the process,” the statement said.

Training programme

The exercise is expected to provide a hands-on experience to programme managers at various levels. It will include activities from data entry in Co-WIN to vaccine receipt and allocation to deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, to reporting and taking-stock meetings. This will also include testing for cold storage and transportation arrangements and crowd management at the session sites with proper physical distancing, it added.

The Central government, which is gearing up to roll out the vaccine across the country, has already had sessions of Training of Trainers, with 2,360 participants comprising State immunisation officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, and development partners.

As on date, State-level training has been completed in all States and Union Territories, except Lakshadweep, with participation of more than 7,000 district-level trainees. Cascading down, 681 districts (49,604 trainees) have completed the training of medical officers on operational guidelines. Vaccination team training has been completed in 1,399 out of 17,831 blocks and planning units. Training is going on in other blocks.

Helpline

For redress of queries on Covid vaccination and about the Co-WIN portal, National (1075) and State (104) Helpline capacities have been strengthened.

The government plans to rope in different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators including medical officers, vaccinators, alternative vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, and ASHA coordinators in the implementation process at different levels.

The training provided to them would include all operational aspects such as organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for management of vaccination process, cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, and infection prevention protocols.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 has recommended three priority population groups including healthcare workers (about 1 crore), frontline workers (about 2 crore), and prioritised age groups (about 27 crore).

As vaccines are temperature sensitive, the present cold chain system consisting of 85,634 equipment at 28,947 points across the country will be used.

The current cold chain is capable of storing Covid-19 vaccine required for the first 3 crore prioritised population, the statement.

Meanwhile, the number of active Covid-19 infections has dwindled to 2.82 lakh in the last 24 hours with the country reporting 1,930 more recoveries than fresh cases. The number of new cases reported since Thursday was 23,067 while 336 people died during the same period.

Published on December 25, 2020

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