Second nationwide vaccine roll-out drill concluded.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will chair a meeting with the Chief Ministers of all the States on Monday evening over the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines. “The meeting via video conferencing will discuss the COVID-19 situation and the vaccination roll-out,” said a tweet on the PM’s official Twitter handle.
The meeting comes days after Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the government was ready to roll-out vaccines for the priority group soon.
Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on January 3 granted restricted emergency use authorisation for Serum Institute of India (SII)’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ vaccines for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, ahead of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, India concluded its second nationwide COVID-19 vaccination dry run across 736 districts of 33 States and Union Territories on Friday.
“After the dry run on January 2, several States had raised concerns regarding software, connectivity and broadband issues, which were relooked into today,” said a senior Health Ministry official. India held its first dry run for the roll-out in eight districts on December 28-29, and the first countrywide drill covering 74 districts was held on January 2.
“These drills are aimed to ensure efficient planning and management for vaccine delivery in each district of all States and Union Territories. For the drill, each district had identified 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,” noted the Ministry.
Dr. Vardhan, who was in Tamil Nadu to monitor the mock drill on Friday, had earlier, in a meeting with State Health Ministers, cautioned and stressed the need to be vigilant against rumours and disinformation campaigns regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines.
Rubbishing rumours being propagated on social media, he had noted that the posts were raising doubts in the minds of the public regarding the vaccine’s side-effects. The Minister, who stated that miscreants might derail the whole exercise and set the clock back by years, urged the State health authorities to work with multiple stakeholders and the youth to spread the right information and dispel rumours and mistruths being spread about the COVID-19 vaccines.
The Ministry added that to strengthen the human resources capacity for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and roll-out, detailed training modules had been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators, including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, etc.
“The entire operational planning and IT platform has been field tested on several occasions. The mock drills help to iron-out any glitches in the final execution and further refinement of the operational procedures,” the Ministry said.