( Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan)

Speed Post News Network

New Delhi : The Central Government is gearing up for the rollout of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. Union Health & Family Welfare Ministry (MoHFW) has been pro-actively carrying out the preparations for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine in collaboration with States/UTs and all stakeholders over the past couple of months to ensure that the preparations are on track.

Two COVID vaccines were given emergency use authorisation by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) recently. The rollout of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in the near future.

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 January 5 and  January 7, 2021 respectively) is planned on  January 8,2021, 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, according to a PIB release.

In this regard, a meeting of Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan with the State/UT Health Ministers is scheduled for January 7, 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 familiarise the State, District, Block, and Hospital level officers on all aspects of COVID-19 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.

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 rollout.

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 individualised 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.