The Centre began a two-day dry run for the coronavirus vaccine program on Monday in four states-Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Assam and Gujarat, day after the country recorded the lowest single-day rise in Covid-19 cases in six months. The exercise is set to be the largest-ever mass immunisation programme in the history of the country.
The dry run will be undertaken as a mock drill, wherein there will be no vaccine involved in the process. The exercise will focus on the management of possible adverse events after inoculation, feasibility of the planned operation involving real time monitoring through Co-WIN app, checks on cold storage and transport arrangements and deployment of team members, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The dry run program will continue for two days, December 28 and December 29 in the chosen districts in each state. During the program, all the four states will report their recorded observations to the central government.
The five sessions will be held at identified locations with 25 test pre-identified beneficiaries across the four states. Adverse Event Following Immunisation(AEFI) panels will be set up and to manage the adverse response in any of the beneficiaries. if any vaccine triggers, the treatment centres will be identified. In total, 2,360 training sessions have been held so far, and 7,000 officials which include medical officers and vaccinators have been trained to carry out the exercise.
In Andhra Pradesh, the dry run will be conducted in Krishna district. The exercise will provide insights into any gaps so that before the commencement of the actual vaccination drive, it could be addressed, said Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhasker. After the dry run, a report will be prepared for the State Task Force to review the feedback and guide the actions, it will then be submitted to the Union Health Ministry, added the Commissioner.
Meanwhile, the Centre has planned to roll out a vaccination drive from January covering 30 crore people in the first phase of the inoculation programme, prioritising health workers, frontline workers and people aged above 50.
Though the country has not approved any vaccine for emergency use, Covishield developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca in collaboration with Serum Institute of India is expected to be the frontrunner. Besides it, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer had also applied for the emergency use authorisation to the Drugs Comptroller General of India(DCGI).
So far, India has crossed over 1.01 crore coronavirus cases, the second highest in the world after the United States, with 1.47 lakh deaths.