With a decision on approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine likely to come by the end of this week, the Center on Thursday ordered all states and UTs to conduct a dry race for vaccination on January 2nd. The dry run will be conducted in an attempt to test and repeat the links between planning and implementation and to identify challenges. It is proposed that the activity be carried out in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites.
States will include districts with challenging topography and poor logistical support, while Maharashtra and Kerala are expected to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their capital, the Union Health Ministry said.
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“The goal of the second race for the introduction of the Covid-19 vaccine is to assess the operational feasibility of using the Co-WIN application in the field, to test the links between planning and implementation and to identify challenges and guide the way forward before implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to program managers at various levels, “the PTI Ministry of Health said.
The development comes a day after the subject matter expert committee (SEC) of the Indian Drug Regulatory Authority held a meeting on Wednesday to deliberate on a request from the Serum Institute of India for approval of the Oxford vaccine (called Covishield) from India in emergency circumstances.
The SEC could not make a decision on the matter until Wednesday night and decided to meet in the new year. Sources close to the development told The Indian Express that the SEC sought additional information from companies related to their candidates. The UK drug regulator dropped the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for use on Wednesday.
Union Secretary for Health Rajesh Bhushan chaired a summit on Thursday to review preparation for Covid-19 vaccination sites with top secretaries (Health) and other health administrators from all states and UT by video conference. Regarding the dry race that will take place, for each of the three sitting places, the responsible doctor will identify 25 test beneficiaries (medical workers).
States and UTs have been asked to provide physical verification of all sites proposed for space adequacy, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, security, etc. and prepare at least three models of session sites in each state (at the state capital) for demonstration.
They were asked to ensure that the model sites have separate entrances and exits in a “three-room layout” with adequate space outside for awareness-raising activities, to display all IEC material on these sites and to ensures that all SOPs and protocols are practiced at the identified locations in an ideal environment together with the vaccination teams to be identified and trained in all aspects.
The fake exercise will take place in five districts of Karnataka
In Karnataka, the simulator will take place in five districts of Bengaluru (Urban), Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamogga, health officials said.
“In each district, three meeting locations were chosen (each at district level, taluk and primary health center) for the drying period. After running on land, the feedback will be collected from those session places in each district, “the statement said.
Officials said the process would include four stages, except for the actual vaccination. These include planning and preparations for the introduction of the vaccine, uploading the details of the beneficiary and the venue, checking the documents at the meeting venue and a simulated simulation of the vaccination and reporting of the beneficiary.
“After the trial, we will be able to access the operational feasibility of using the Co-WIN application in a field environment and test the links between the planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms,” an official explained.
(With contributions from Ralph Alex Arakal in Bengaluru)