An important focus of the dry run will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunization

The Central Government is gearing up for the roll-out of the vaccine for COVID-19 across the country. A dry run has been planned in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, and Punjab next week.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has prepared a detailed checklist and shared it with the four states to guide them in the dry run.

A two-day exercise has also been planned on December 28 and December 29. It will include activities from the necessary data entries in Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network Co-WIN to vaccine receipt and allocation to the deployment of team members, mock drills of session sites with test beneficiaries to reporting, and evening meetings.

This will also include testing for cold storage and transportation arrangements for the COVID-19 vaccine, management of crowds at the session sites with proper physical distancing.

“Each State will plan it in two districts and preferably in different (five) session type settings e.g. district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, rural outreach, etc. This will exercise enable end-to-end mobilization 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 guide the way forward before actual implementation including improvements that may be required in the envisaged process,” the Health Ministry said in a statement.

An important focus of the dry run will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunization (AEFI). Besides, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission. The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the State and Union Health Ministry.

Further, to strengthen the capacity of the human resource for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and roll-out, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators, said the statement.

The training includes all operational aspects of training as the 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 inter-sectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, and infection prevention protocols.

According to the Health Ministry, 2,360 participants were trained during national level Training of Trainers which comprised state immunization officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, and development partners.

To date, the state-level training has been completed in all States/Union Territories with the participation of more than 7000 district level trainees. Lakshadweep will conduct the training on December 29.

Cascading down, 49,604 trainees from 681 districts have completed the training of Medical Officers on operational guidelines. Vaccination team training has been completed in 1399 out of 17831 blocks/ planning units. It is ongoing in the other blocks.

The center has strengthened the helpline capacity to facilitate redressal of queries on COVID-19 vaccination and Co-WIN portal related queries.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended three prioritized 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 at a specific temperature, the present cold chain system consisting of 85,634 equipment for the storage of vaccines at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country will be used for the cold chain administration.