New Delhi: The Central Government is gearing up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country and the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) has been carrying out the preparations for the distribution of coronavirus vaccine, in collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders over the past couple of months.
The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in the near future as two COVID-19 vaccines have been given emergency use authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently.
Subsequently, another round of dry run/mock drill in all 700+ districts of all States/UTs (except UP and Haryana) is planned on January 8, 2021, to ensure efficient planning and management for vaccine delivery. Notably, UP has already conducted the dry run in all districts on January 5, whereas, Haryana will hold it on January 7.
According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 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 Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan with the State/UT Health Ministers is scheduled on January 7 to guide States/UTs on the conduct of dry run.
The entire planning of the COVID-19 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 coronavirus vaccine rollout. 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.
The MoHFW will also 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 the conduct of the vaccination sessions.
A dedicated 24x7 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.