Covid vaccine roll out in India: Centre unveils mega plan ahead of next week’s vaccination drive

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Covid vaccine roll outUnion Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has already disclosed that the first Covid-19 vaccine shots are likely on January 13. (IE image)As India gears up to commence the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination drive, the Central government is leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the preparations for the roll-out of Coronavirus vaccines are on track. It seems that there will be more Covid-19 vaccine storage points, additional dry runs, and extra training processes ahead of the large scale vaccination drive likely to begin from next week.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan has already disclosed that the first Covid-19 vaccine shots are likely on January 13. Bhushan told the media that there are four primary vaccine stores called GMSD located in Haryana’s Karnal, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata. Apart from these, there are 37 vaccine stores across the country. These facilities have the capacity to store vaccines in bulk and distribute them further, the Union Health Secretary said.

Additional 19 vaccine stores are being set up in remote areas like Ladakh or those with poor logistical support such Northeast states. There will be cold-chain testing at the stores. Vaccine dry run is being conducted in at least one vaccination centre in every district across India. This is being done to assess the load on the flagship Co-WIN IT platform. Co-WIN platform is the Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network that will have all required information pertaining to the Covid vaccination drive. There will be additional training to the vaccinations team based on the feedback received from the dry run, as per The Indian Express report.

As a simulation of actual execution, another round of dry-run in more than 700 districts of all states or UTs, except Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, is planned on January 8, 2021, to ensure efficient planning and management for vaccine delivery in each district of all states and UTs. Each district will identify three types of session sites, similar to the previous dry run including a public health facility such as district hospital or medical college, private health facility, and rural or urban outreach sites, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a statement.

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 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, and to provide confidence to the programme managers at all levels to carry out a smooth implementation of the vaccination drive, as per the details shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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