Nearly 1.7 lakh vaccinators and 3 lakh trained vaccination team members are expected to take part in the mock drill

A nationwide mock drill on Covid-19 vaccination will be conducted on Friday to simulate the actual vaccination process once the vaccines are rolled out for mass use after necessary approvals.

The second drill of its kind to be held this year will be held at three-session sites of 736 districts across 33 States and Union Territories.

The entire planning of the vaccination drive including beneficiary registration, micro-planning, and vaccination at the planned session site, will be tested under the leadership of the District Collector or District Magistrate, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

The dry run will also familiarize the state, district, block, and hospital level officers on all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out.

"This activity will help administrators in strengthening the linkages between planning, implementation, and reporting mechanisms, identification of any residual challenges before the actual implementation, and to provide confidence to the program managers at all levels to carry out a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive," the ministry said in a statement.

Nearly 1.7 lakh vaccinators and 3 lakh trained vaccination team members are expected to take part in the drill. A similar exercise was carried out on January 2 at 285 session sites in 125 districts across the country.

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan, who will visit Tamil Nadu to review the exercise at the ground level, interacted with the health ministers and chief secretaries of the states and Union Territories ahead of the nationwide mock drill.

During the interaction through video conference, Vardhan urged the state health authorities to work with the multiple stakeholders and the youth to spread the right information and dispel rumors and mistruths being spread about the Covid-19 vaccines.

Seeking their indulgence, leadership, and keen oversight for the national dry run, Vardhan requested the Health Ministers to be vigilant against rumors and disinformation campaigns regarding the safety and efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
“These miscreants might derail the whole exercise, set the clock back by years,” he said.

During the meeting, the Health Minister appreciated the tireless efforts being made by the multiple stakeholders including the central and state government officials and the medical community who have worked proactively in the last few months to compose and disseminate detailed guidelines on the upcoming vaccination drive, training the vaccine administrators.
He also expressed gratitude to the scientific community who have worked tirelessly to bring the country two vaccines which have recently received the Emergency Use Authorization a few days back.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, he highlighted the unique digital platform, Co-WIN, repurposed from the e-VIN platform that will provide real-time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature, and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine.

This platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification, and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 78 lakh beneficiaries have been already registered on the platform, he stated.

The Minister reassured all his State counterparts that the country’s cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last-mile delivery and that adequate supplies of syringes and other logistics have also been provided for.

“India has unparalleled experience in dealing with immunization and runs one of the largest universal immunization programs in the world which has been applauded by the world for its robustness”.

He referred to India’s several successful immunization drives concerning Polio, Rubella, and Measles and also narrated his personal experience from the early nineties of having galvanized efforts of millions of Indians which eventually led to the eradication of Polio from the country.

“The rich experience of the country from the UIP and the anti-polio campaign are being used to strengthen the processes of COVID19 vaccination”, he stated.

Following this, he reminded his state counterparts to also ensure that the National Immunisation Day (NID) scheduled on January 17 is also given due importance. He requested the State/UT health ministers to ensure that non-COVID essential services are not adversely impacted.

“It is with the collaborative efforts of the States/UTs and multiple partners that India and 11 other countries of the South East Asia region of WHO have been declared polio-free. It should be our endeavor to sustain India’s Polio-free status”, he stated.

Drawing attention to some neighbors still having cases of wild polio, he said that it is important that the NIDs are effectively rolled out.

Vardhan stated that to strengthen the capacity of our human resource for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and roll-out, 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.

He said the entire operational planning and IT platform has been field-tested on several occasions before the second national dry run of tomorrow. The earlier national mock drill of 2nd Jan 2021 helped to iron out any glitches in the final execution and further refinement of the operational procedures. The feedback from most of the States/UTs was satisfactory conduct of the dry run.

The state and UT ministers shared their feedback and experience from the past dry run exercises and the preparedness for tomorrow’s exercise. They informed about the training sessions held for vaccinators, updation of the database of beneficiaries, cold chain management, session allocation, and reporting of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI).