India rehearses for massive Corona vaccination drive

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STATE TIMES NEWS

New Delhi/Chennai: As India came closer to the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine, a dry run was held by all states and union territories on Saturday in preparation for a massive inoculation drive, with Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealing to people not to be misguided by rumours and disinformation regarding the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.
Vardhan said that free vaccine would be provided in the first phase to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers. He said the details of how 27 crore priority beneficiaries — those above 50 years of age and those below it having comorbidities — would be vaccinated until July were being finalised.
In the national capital, where the dry run was held at three sites, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said that free coronavirus vaccine will be provided to the people in the city. Interacting with reporters during a visit to a facility in Daryaganj, he said the system “seems flawless” as of now.
The dry-run was being conducted in state capitals in at least three session sites. Some states also included districts that are situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support, according to officials.

COVID vaccination dry run conducted in Jammu, Srinagar, Kulgam districts

JAMMU: The dry run for COVID-19 vaccination was conducted on Saturday at three identified districts of Srinagar, Jammu and Kulgam.
Financial Commissioner Health & Medical Education, Atal Dulloo, inaugurated and monitored the sessions of administration of Covid-19 vaccination to the beneficiaries at the selected sites.
At Jammu, the vaccination was administered at the selected session sites at Government Hospital, Sarwal and Community Health Centres of Marh and Bishnah.
At Srinagar, Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Samir Mattoo, supervised the administration of Covid -19 vaccination to the beneficiaries at Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital and in the UPHCs of Nishat and Batamaloo respectively.
At Kulgam, the Covid-19 vaccination in Kulgam district was administered to beneficiaries at District Hospital Kulgam and Community Health Centres of Yaripora and Kujjar, where all the operational guidelines for COVID 19 vaccination roll out were followed in dry run activities. Financial Commissioner informed that all protocols pertaining to vaccinations were strictly followed in all the three districts and elaborated that 3 rooms, as per the guidelines, designated for Covid-19 vaccination were set-up. These rooms included the Waiting room, Vaccination room and the Observation room.
Dullo informed that 25 beneficiaries from each vaccination site were pre-identified and uploaded on to the Cowin portal. Also, 5 member Trained Vaccination Team already uploaded on COWIN App was present with pre-designated roles and responsibilities.
Besides, special attention was also given to AEFI Management and on disposal of Bio Medical Waste.
Meanwhile, the functioning of COWIN App, on which all beneficiaries are going to be uploaded, was demonstrated to Media personnel.
Director Health Services, Jammu, Dr Renu Sharma and Director Health and Family Welfare supervised the Covid-19 dry-run on beneficiaries.
Later, a meeting of UT Level Task force was chaired by the Financial Commissioner who had feedback from all the districts regarding the vaccination. He directed all the officers to resolve all the issues identified in today’s mock drill.
Meanwhile, district level task force meetings were also conducted at all the districts which were chaired by Deputy Commissioners of the respective districts.
For implementation of various preparatory activities related to introduction of COVID-19 vaccine, the District Level Task Force (DLTF) Srinagar held its third meeting to review the arrangements for smooth implementation of plan formulated as per guidelines issued by the Government.
Deputy Commissioner Srinagar, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, who is also the chairman of DLTF Srinagar reviewed the preparedness including status of logistics and manpower required to assist the teams of health department for vaccination. Issues related to deputation and training of officials from various departments for notified duties as a part of vaccination team were also discussed.
The DLTF was briefed about the preparedness and further requirements on part of various stakeholders. It was informed that more than 14,000 healthcare workers have been identified and updated on portal for vaccination during Phase-I which is aimed at covering frontline workers.
Meanwhile database of officials from Police, Education, ICDS and Revenue, who shall be part of vaccination teams across the district, is being created. Sixty locations have been earmarked as vaccination points in the district which include buildings of various departments to be utilised for the purpose.
DC Srinagar directed for early completion of database updating for more than 500 private healthcare institutions identified under the plan while the process has been completed for the Government health institutions which are 135 in number.
He complemented the health teams for their outstanding work in micro-planning and directed the member departments to depute their officials immediately for training and awareness.
The meeting was informed that SDMs have been asked to coordinate logistics and manpower required by the vaccination teams and health department at the local level. The DC asked the power department for installation of DG sets at locations proposed by concerned Zonal Medical Officers through respective SDMs.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Jahangir Bakshi gave a detailed presentation about the status of planning process, logistics support required and the dry run conducted at Nishat, Rainawari and Batmaloo in presence of Director Health Services, ADC Srinagar , JD Planning, SDMs, ZMOs and medical officers.

Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat conducted the mock drill in four districts each, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in five districts each while Rajasthan carried out the dry-run in seven districts. India has reported 1.03 crore COVID-19 cases so far and the exercise was held on a day an expert panel of the central drug authority recommended granting permission for restricted emergency use of the indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, with certain conditions, after giving similar direction for the Oxford vaccine Covishield.
The first dry run was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab on December 28-29 with at least 125 intended beneficiaries at five sites in a maximum of two districts each.
The union health ministry had said that no major issues were observed during the pilot dry run and all states had expressed confidence in the operational guidelines and IT platform for large-scale programme implementation.
Specific teams were formed for various tasks conducted on Saturday’s rehersal by the district administrations and activities like uploading of dummy beneficiary data, session site creation, vaccine allocation, communicating vaccination details to beneficiaries and vaccinators, and beneficiary mobilisation, etc were carried out.
“I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine,” Vardhan said underlining that vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when the country started polio immunisation drive, but “we must remember its success”.
The health minister has been credited with doing pioneering work in the successful mass pulse polio immunisation programme.
It is as a result of our steadfastness and dedication, that India was declared polio-free in 2014. Our rich learning from the earlier immunisation drives including the Polio vaccination campaign is being used to guide our present countrywide COVID19 vaccination campaign,” he was quoted as saying in a statement.
Guidelines for the nationwide dry run were updated based on the feedback from the insightful pilot dry run held on Monday and Tuesday in four states, Vardhan said.
On Saturday, the dry run was conducted at identified health centres in Nagpur, Jalna, Pune and Nandurbar districts of Maharashtra.
In Kerala, at least 25 health workers each in four districts- Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Wayanad and Palakkad – took part in the drill.
“The Centre has informed us that the state will receive the adequate stock of vaccine within two-three days, state Health Minister K K Shailaja said at Peroorkkada where the trial run was being held at the government district hospital.
The state has completed all preparations,” she said.
Delhi health minister Jain said 1,000 vaccine centres will be set up across the city. When asked if the vaccine will be free of cost, he said, “Yes, and in Delhi the treatment and medicines are given for free.”
The Delhi government is fully prepared to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccine to 51 lakh priority category persons in the city in the first phase of vaccination, Jain said.
In West Bengal, the dry run was held at Urban Primary Health Centres in Duttabad and Madhyagram and Amdanga Rural Hospital in North 24 Parganas district
A senior official in Assam said the dry run will continue regularly in the state till actual vaccination takes place.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the state close to the Makar Sankranti’ festival which will be celebrated on January 14.
He said that a dry run of the vaccine was held at some places in the state on Saturday.
“We initiated the campaign against COVID-19 in March 2020 under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and at the beginning of this year we could say firmly that the dry run of the vaccine will be held on January 5 across the state and the vaccine will be available near around Makar Sankranti,” he said at an event.
The exercise was held at Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Belagavi, and Bengaluru districts of Karnataka.
Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said overall, the processes worked successfully.
The dry run was held at three centres each in the districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Nilgiris and Tirunelveli, and five in Coimbatore.
“An initial learning was that the room earmarked for vaccination should be more spacious,” the secretary told reporters, adding officials from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) also witnessed the drive.
An important focus of the dry run was on the management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI), and adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site to prevent disease transmission, the union health ministry had said.
The states and UTs were asked to ensure that the data of beneficiaries is uploaded in the Co-WIN app, ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for the adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, safety, etc. and prepare at least three model session sites in each state (at state capital) for demonstration.
They were asked to ensure that the model sites have separate entry and exit in a ‘three-room set-up’ with adequate space outside for awareness generation activities.
The dry run would equip the state and UT administration in the management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics including cold chain management, the ministry had stated.
Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained so far for the vaccination drive.
The number of fresh COVID-19 cases was recorded below 20,000 in India on Saturday, taking the country’s caseload to 1,03,05,788, while the number of people who have recuperated from the disease crossed 99 lakh, according to the health ministry.
The death toll due to the disease climbed to 1,49,218 in the country with 224 new fatalities, the ministry’s data updated at 8 AM showed.

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