With the objective of gearing up for the roll out of COVID19 vaccine across the country, the Central Government has asked all States and UTs to ensure effective preparedness for the vaccine roll out. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness at session sites for COVID-19 vaccination with Pr. Secretaries (Health), NHM MDs and other health administrators of all States/UTs through video conference.
The dry run will be conducted by all the State and UT governments on January 2. The activity is proposed to be conducted in all State Capitals in at least 3 session sites; some States will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support; Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their Capital, according to the Health Ministry.
The objective of the Dry Run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in the field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels.
The planning for the vaccine introduction will be as per the Operational Guidelines issued by the Ministry on December 20. For each of the three Session Sites, the concerned Medical Officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The States/UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries is uploaded in Co-WIN. These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. The States and UTs shall prepare the facilities and users to be created on the CoWIN application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries, the statement said.
As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various States. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose. 2,360 participants have been trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in District level training in 719 districts. States are augmenting the State helpline 104 (which shall be used in addition to 1075) for any vaccine/software related query. Orientation and capacity building of the Call Centre executives has taken place in the States/UTs. States were also encouraged to use the FAQs issued by the Health Ministry proactively to address any such query, it said.
An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission. The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback. The State Task Force shall review the feedback and share with the Union Health Ministry.
States/UTs were also asked to address the communication challenges by taking in confidence all the concerned stakeholders and by augmenting the community engagement ‘Jan bhagidari’ through innovative strategies, it said.
Detailed checklist has been prepared by the Union Health Ministry and shared with the States/UTs to guide them in the dry run.
The first round of the dry run was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab on 28-29th December 2020 in two districts each where five session sites with 25 beneficiaries each were identified. No major issues were observed in the operational aspects during this dry run. All States expressed confidence in the operational guidelines and IT platform for large scale programme implementation.