The Central Government is gearing up for the roll out of COVID19 vaccine across the country. Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has been pro-actively carrying out the preparations for roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine, in collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders, over the past couple of months to ensure that the preparations for roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine are on track.
Two COVID vaccines have been given emergency use authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently. The roll out of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in the near future. This milestone entails the need for testing of all planned mechanisms for conducting the vaccination drive in the country.
As a simulation of actual execution, another round of dry run/mock drill in all 700+ districts of all States/UTs (except UP and Haryana who have already conducted/ will be conducting the dry run in all districts on 5th January and 7th January respectively) is planned on 8th January 2021 to ensure efficient planning and management for vaccine delivery in each district of all States/UTs. Each district will identify three types of session sites, similar to the previous dry run including a public health facility (District Hospital/Medical College), private health facility and rural or urban outreach sites.
In this regard, a meeting of Hon’ble Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan with the State/UT Health Ministers is scheduled on 7th January 2021 to guide States/UTs on the conduct of dry run. The entire planning of the vaccination drive including beneficiary registration, microplanning and vaccination at the planned session site, will be tested under the leadership of District Collector/District Magistrate. The dry run will also familiarize the State, District, Block and Hospital level officers on all aspects of COVID-19 roll out. This activity will help administrators in strengthening the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, identification of any residual challenges prior to the actual implementation and to provide confidence to the programme managers at all levels to carry out a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive.
MoHFW will be in constant touch with the States/UTs throughout the day to seek feedback and provide support and, ensure timely resolution of the identified challenges before the actual vaccination roll-out.
To facilitate the entire vaccination process, a software,‘Co-WIN’, has been developed by the Health Ministry for real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine. This software will assist the programme managers across all levels in conduct of the vaccination sessions. A dedicated 24×7 call centre has also been established for technical queries of Co-WIN users. The cold chain infrastructure (like walk-in-freezers, walk-in-coolers, ice-lined refrigerators, deep freezers) along with sufficient supplies of syringes and other logistics have been ensured to begin COVID-19 vaccination drive.
Around 1.7 lakh vaccinators and 3 lakh vaccination team members have been trained on the process to be followed at the vaccination sites which include beneficiary verification, vaccination, cold chain & logistics management, bio-medical waste management, AEFI management and reporting on Co-WIN software. Detailed operational guidelines on all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, including session planning & management, session site layout & its organization, AEFI management, IEC messages, infection prevention & control practices etc., have already been shared with the States/UTs and they have also been oriented on the same.