Harsh Vardhan to meet state health ministers on vaccine’s dry-run

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Harsh Vardhan to meet state health ministers on vaccine’s dry-run

New Delhi:  Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan is slated to hold a video conferencing on Thursday with health ministers of all the states and union territories to review preparedness for another nationwide dry run of administering Covid-19 vaccine on January 8.

The Central government is gearing up for the roll out of Covid-19 vaccine across the country. As a simulation of actual execution, another round of dry run will now be conducted in all 700 plus districts of all states and UTs, except Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, on Friday.

Each district will identify three types of session sites, similar to the previous dry run including a public health facility like a District Hospital or Medical College, private health facility and rural or urban outreach sites.

The mock drill will familiarise the state, district, block and hospital level officers on all aspects of Covid-19 roll out.

This activity will help administrators in strengthening the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, identification of any residual challenges prior to the actual implementation and to provide confidence to the programme managers at all levels to carry out a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive.

To facilitate the entire vaccination process, a software,’Co-WIN’, has been developed by the Health Ministry for real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries for Covid-19 vaccine.

This software will assist the programme managers across all levels in conduct of the vaccination sessions. A dedicated 24×7 call centre has also been established for technical queries of Co-WIN users.

The cold chain infrastructure, like walk-in-freezers, walk-in-coolers, ice-lined refrigerators, deep freezers, along with sufficient supplies of syringes and other logistics have been ensured to begin Covid-19 vaccination drive.

Around 1.7 lakh vaccinators and three lakh vaccination team members have been trained on the process to be followed at the vaccination sites which include beneficiary verification, vaccination, cold chain and logistics management, bio-medical waste management, AEFI management and reporting on Co-WIN software.

Detailed operational guidelines on all aspects of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, including session planning and management, session site layout and its organization, AEFI management, IEC messages, infection prevention and control practices etc., have already been shared with the States and UTs and they have also been oriented on the same.

On January 2, almost all states and Union Territory had conducted dry run at 285 session sites spread across 125 districts to assess ability and readiness of authorities to administer shots to hundreds of millions of people, including many in remote corners of the country.

On December 28 and 29, the first dry run was conducted in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot and Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam.

The Central government plans to vaccinate nearly 30 crore people in the first phase of drive. It will be offered to one crore healthcare workers, along with 2 crore frontline and essential workers and 27 crore elderly, mostly above the age of 50 years with comorbidities.

The Health Ministry on Tuesday announced that vaccination drive will be rolled-out by January 13.

Two vaccines — Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin have been approved for restricted emergency use. It will be first offered to one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers for free.

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