New Delhi: Amid fear over the new strain of coronavirus that has been detected in several countries, the Centre is gearing up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine and will start a dry run in four states from Monday (December 28, 2020).
"As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the coronavirus vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various States," said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
According to MoHFW, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, ASHA coordinators and all others involved in the implementation process at different levels to strengthen the capacity of human resource for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and roll-out.
"The training includes all operational aspects of training like organization of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for the management of the entire vaccination process, deployment of HR cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, infection prevention protocols etc," the MoHFW stated.
As a step to prep up for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine, and to assess the readiness of the planned activities, a dry run has been initially planned in four states -- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab considering the geographical locations.
Each state has planned it in two districts and preferably in different (five) session type settings, for example, district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, rural outreach etc.
"This will exercise enable end-to-end mobilisation and testing of COVID-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine) and check the usage of Co-WIN in the field environment, the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms and identify challenges and guideway forward prior to actual implementation including improvements that may be required in the envisaged process," said the MoHFW.
They added that this will also provide a hands-on experience to programme managers at various levels.
The two-day activity has been planned on December 28 and 29 and will include activities from the necessary data entries in Co-WIN to vaccine receipt and allocation to the deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries to reporting and evening meeting. This will also include testing for cold storage and transportation arrangements for coronavirus vaccine, management of crowd at the session sites with proper physical distancing.
More than 2,300 participants have been trained during the national level Training of Trainers which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, development partners etc.
The State level training had been completed in all States/UTs with the participation of more than 7,000 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep which is likely to conduct it on December 29.
As per MoHFW, 681 districts (49,604 trainees) have completed the training of Medical Officers on operational guidelines.
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has reportedly recommended three prioritised population groups including Healthcare Workers (HCWs) (about 1 crore), Frontline Workers (FLWs) (about 2 crores), and Prioritized Age Group (about 27 crores).
As vaccines are temperature sensitive and need to be stored in specific temperature, the present cold chain system consisting of 85,634 equipment for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country will be used for the cold chain administration.
The current cold chain is capable of storing an additional quantity of COVID-19 vaccine required for the first 3 crores prioritised population ie Health Care Workers and Front Line Workers.
On a good note, India's daily new COVID-19 caseload dropped below 19,000 after 6 months as 18,732 were added to the national tally on Saturday. Notably, the newly added cases were 18,653 in July.
Country's total active caseload has now come down to 2,78,690 which is reportedly the lowest after 170 days. More than 97.6 lakh people have recovered so far while 1.47 lakh have succumbed to COVID-19.