Dry run for Covid inoculation next week

An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation.
Indivjal Dhasmana reports.

The Centre has planned a dry run of the COVID-19 immunisation drive in four states — Punjab, Assam, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh — one each in north, east, west, and south. The exercise, aimed at assessing the readiness for the vaccine roll-out, will take place on December 28 and 29.

The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring vaccine delivery, deployment of team members, and a mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, the Union health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

It will also include the testing of cold storage and transportation arrangements for the vaccine, and management of crowd at session sites with proper physical distancing, the ministry said.

Each of these states will plan it in two districts and preferably in five different session-type settings — district hospital, community health centre (CHC) or primary health care centre (PHC), urban site, private health facility, and rural outreach.

‘This exercise will enable end-to-end mobilisation and the testing of the COVID-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine),’ the ministry said.

‘Besides, it will check the usage of Co-WIN in field environment, linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, identify challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation, including improvements that may be required in the envisaged process,’ the ministry added.

This will also provide a hands-on experience to programme managers at various levels.

An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation as well as on adherence and management of infection control practices at session sites to prevent disease transmission.

The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the state and the Centre.

A detailed checklist has been prepared by the ministry and shared with the four states to guide them in the exercise.

‘The central government is gearing up for the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine across the country,’ the ministry stated. ‘As vaccine administrators will play an important role in the immunisation process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states’.

To strengthen the human resource for the vaccine introduction and roll-out, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators, including medical officers, vaccinators cold chain handlers, ASHA coordinators, and all others involved in the implementation process at different levels.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 has recommended three prioritised population groups including healthcare workers (about 10 million), frontline workers (about 20 million), and prioritised age group (about 27 crore).

Three vaccine candidates have applied for emergency use authorisation in India — the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine being manufactured here by the Serum Institute of India, Pfizer-BioNTech’s mRNA vaccine, and the indigenously developed Covaxin by Bharat Biotech.

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