Is India prepared for vaccination? Trial in four states soon
Though India is yet to approve a coronavirus vaccine candidate, on December 28 and 29, the Centre has planned a dry run in four states to judge the preparedness of the vaccination program, PTI reported on Friday. The rehearsal will be conducted in Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, and Gujarat. Two districts of the states will be chosen for this exercise. Here's more.
The exercise will focus on all aspects of the vaccination program — from uploading necessary data in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, to the deployment of team members, a drill at the sites with beneficiaries, and a meeting in the evening. The Union Health Ministry said crowd management at sites, cold storage, and transportation facilities will also be scrutinized.
"This exercise will enable end-to-end mobilization and testing of COVID-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine) and check the usage of Co-WIN in the field environment, linkages between planning, implementation, and reporting mechanisms, identify challenges and guide the way forward," the Union Health Ministry said.
The program will put a special focus on the management of adverse events following immunization (AEFI). As per the rules released by the government earlier, all beneficiaries will have to stay at the vaccination site for 30 minutes after getting injected to check for any problems. A lot of attention will also be given to precautions at sites to prevent disease transmission.
To address the human resource part of the program, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of those who would be involved like medical officers, cold chain handlers, ASHA coordinators, etc. These trainings will cover all processes like managing adverse events, management of biomedical waste, following protocols to avoid contracting the infection, and operating the Co-WIN platform.
The ministry revealed that 2,360 participants have been trained during the national-level training of trainers. "As of date, state-level training has been completed at all states and Union Territories with the participation of more than 7,000 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep which will conduct its on December 29. Cascading down, 681 districts have completed the training of medical officers on operational guidelines," it added.
To ensure that the efficacy of the vaccines is not compromised, the existing cold chain system will be used. This system has 85,634 equipment for the storage of vaccines at about 28,947 cold chain points across India. Earlier, a Reuters report claimed the government could give the approval to the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca by next week.