‘Don’t pay heed to anti-vaccine rumours’, says Harsh Vardhan

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday said that COVID-19 vaccines will be free across the country.

“Not just in Delhi, it will be free across the country,” the Health Minister said while speaking to reporters. 

“In 1st phase of COVID19 Vaccination free vaccine shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries that incl 1 crore healthcare & 2 crore frontline workers. Details of how further 27 cr priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised,” Vardhan said.

Dr Harsh Vardhan today visited GTB Hospital to review the dry rum drill for administering COVID-19 vaccine.

“Reviewed the dry run of administering the #COVID19 vaccine at GTB hospital, Delhi today.

Guidelines for this nationwide dry run have been updated based on the feedback from the insightful pilot dry run held in 4 states,” the Minister tweeted.

Vardhan appealed to the public not to pay heed to anti-vaccine rumours.

“Vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when we started polio immunisation drive but we must remember its success.I appeal to the people not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety & efficacy of COVID19 vaccine. We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine,” the Minister said.

The dry run is being conducted in all states and union territories on Saturday.

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, Health Ministry said.

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.

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.