Govt gears up for roll out of COVID-19 vaccine, dry run to be held in 4 states next week
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To assess readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 inoculation 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, a well as reporting and evening meeting, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.

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.

The government has already trained participants who will administer the vaccine. The detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, ASHA coordinators and all others involved in the implementation process at different levels, to strengthen the capacity of human resource for vaccine introduction and roll-out.

"The training includes all operational aspects of training like organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for the management of the entire vaccination process, deployment of HR Cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, infection prevention protocols, etc.," the Ministry said in a press release.

As many as, 2,360 participants were trained during national-level training of trainers which comprised state immunisation officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials and development partner.

Till today, the state-level training has been completed in all states and Union Territories (UTs) with the participation of more than 7,000 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep which will conduct on December 29.

"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/planning units. It is ongoing in the other blocks," it said.

To facilitate redressal of queries on COVID-19 vaccination and Co-WIN portal related queries, national 1075 and state 104 helpline capacity has also been strengthened to address queries beyond their routine support.

As a step to prep up for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine, and to assess the readiness of the planned activities, a dry run has been planned in four states to start with Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab considering the geographical locations.

"Each State will plan it in two districts and preferably in different five-session type settings e.g. district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, rural outreach, etc.," it added.

The two-day dry run is planned on 28 and 29 December 2020 and will include activities from the necessary data entries in Co-WIN to vaccine receipt and allocation to the deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries to reporting and evening meeting.

This activity will also include testing for cold storage and transportation arrangements for the COVID19 vaccine, management of crowd at the session sites with proper physical distancing.

The Ministry said that the detailed checklist has been prepared and shared with the four states to guide them in the dry run.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended three prioritised population groups which include about one crore healthcare, about two crore frontline workers and 27 crores prioritised age group.

The present cold chain system consisting of 85,634 equipments for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country will be used for the cold chain administration, as vaccines are temperature sensitive and need to be stored in a specific temperature.

The current cold chain is capable of storing additional quantity of COVID-19 vaccine required for the first three crores prioritised population -- health care workers and front line workers.

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Free Press Journal