New Delhi: The Central Government is gearing up for the roll-out of a Covid-19 vaccine across the country, stated the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in a press communication on Friday, 25th December, adding that as the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states.
To strengthen the capacity of human resource for the 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. The training includes all operational aspects of training like the organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for the management of the entire vaccination process, deployment of HR Cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, and infection prevention protocols, stated the MoHFW.
According to the Health Ministry, 2,360 participants were trained during the national-level training of trainers which comprised state immunisation officers, cold chain officers, IEC officials, and development partners. As of yesterday, the state-level training had been completed in all states & UTs with the participation of more than 70,00 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep which will conduct it soon (29th December). Cascading down, 681 districts (49,604 trainees) have completed the training of medical officers on operational guidelines. Vaccination team training has been completed in 1,399 out of 17,831 blocks & planning units, said the Health Ministry, adding that it is ongoing in the other blocks.
To facilitate redressal of queries on Covid-19 vaccination and the Co-WIN portal related queries, national 1075 and state 104 Helpline capacity has also been strengthened to address queries beyond their routine support, as per the Health Ministry statement.
As a step to prep up for the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine, and to assess the readiness of the planned activities, a dry run has been planned in four states to start with, viz. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, considering the geographical locations. Each state will plan it in two districts and preferably in different (five) session type settings e.g. district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, rural outreach etc. The Health Ministry stated that this exercise will enable end-to-end mobilisation and testing of Covid-19 vaccination process (except the vaccine) and check the usage of Co-WIN in the field environment, the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, and identify challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation including improvements that may be required in the envisaged process. This will also provide hands-on experience to programme managers at various levels, the MoHFW said.
This two-day activity is planned on 28th & 29th December and will include activities from the necessary data entries in Co-WIN to vaccine receipt & allocation to the deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries to reporting and evening meetings. This will also include testing for cold storage and transportation arrangements for the Covid-19 vaccine, and management of crowds at the session sites with proper physical distancing.
The Health Ministry stated that an important focus of the dry run will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission. The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the State and Union Health Ministry.
A detailed checklist has been prepared by the Union Health Ministry and shared with the four States to guide them in the dry run, said the MoHFW.
The statement explained that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended three prioritised population groups including Healthcare Workers (HCWs) (about 1 crore), Frontline Workers (FLWs) (about 2 crores), and Prioritised Age Group (about 27 crores). As vaccines are temperature sensitive and need to be stored at specific temperatures, the present cold chain system consisting of 85,634 pieces of equipment for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country will be used for the cold chain administration. The current cold chain is capable of storing an additional quantity of Covid-19 vaccine required for the first 3 crore prioritised population i.e Health Care Workers and Front Line Workers, stated the Health Ministry.
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