In an indication that a COVID-19 vaccination campaign could soon begin in India, the government has planned a dry vaccination process in four states – Punjab, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh – on December 28 and 29.
Two districts in each of these states in the four zones of the country will test their readiness in five types of medical facilities: district hospitals, public and community health centers, urban and rural areas, and private facilities.
Importantly, the dry run will focus on managing any post-immunization adverse events (AEFI), as well as conducting simulated exercises, controlling the use of the Co-WIN vaccine registration app, preparing for storage and transport and crowd management.
Additionally, adherence and management of infection control practices at the site will be performed to prevent disease transmission.
“It will provide insights into any gaps or bottlenecks so that they can be addressed before the COVID-19 campaign begins. The dry run must be conducted in one or two districts under the general guidance of the district magistrate / collector.” Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said Thursday.
As part of the vaccine launch plan, 2,360 training sessions have been held so far and 7,000 officials have been trained, including medical officers, vaccinators, alternative vaccinators, cold chain operators, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators.
India could start vaccination “any week” in January, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan recently said, adding that the DCGI regulator is analyzing Bharat’s requests for emergency use approval. Biotech, Serum Institute and Pfizer.
In consideration of the plans, Delhi and Hyderabad airports have begun preparing to safely store and transport temperature-sensitive vaccines. The states also gathered a list of health and frontline workers who would be the first to get hit.
After three crore of health and frontline workers, India plans to vaccinate an additional 27 crore of people in high-risk and vulnerable categories for COVID-19 in the next six to seven months, the minister said.
While many countries, including the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Israel, and Russia, have started vaccinating their populations, India has yet to approve a vaccine for emergency use.
The second most affected country by the coronavirus pandemic in terms of absolute numbers, India has seen a steady decline in its new Covid infections due to an increase in cases in Europe and the Americas.
The country has more than 1.1 crore of coronavirus cases of which only 3% are active. So far, at least 1.46 lakh people have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the first cases were detected in India in January of this year.