COVID-19 vaccine update: 2-day dry run for vaccination in four states in India to start today
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With over 10 million total COVID-19 infections, India is set to hold a two-day from today (December 28) in four states for its proposed ambitious vaccination drive likely to be kicked off in January.

To assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, a dry run has been planned by the Centre on December 28 and 29 in four states - Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.

The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, the Union Health Ministry had said.

It will also include testing of cold storage and transportation arrangements for COVID-19 vaccine, management of crowd at session sites with proper physical distancing, the ministry said.

Each state 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 testing of COVID-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine) and 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 health ministry said.

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 (AEFI) as well as on 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 block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the state and the Centre.

To strengthen the human resource for the vaccine introduction and roll-out and 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.

A total of 2,360 training sessions have been held so far, and 7,000 officials have been trained, including medical officers and vaccinators.

India has eight COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including three indigenous vaccines, under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorization in near future.

It includes AstraZeneca and Oxford university developed and Serum Institute of India manufactured Covishield, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Limited, ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila and Russian vaccine candidate Sputnik-V.

The list also contains NVX-CoV2373 by SII, HGCO19 by Geneva, and two unlabeled vaccines-Recombinant Protein Antigen based vaccine by Biological E Limited-and Inactivated rabies vector platform by Bharat Biotech.

(Inputs from PTI and IANS)

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