Mock drills with a focus on the management of possible adverse events following immunization and prevention of disease transmission would be conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab on December 28 and 29.
New Delhi: In an indication that a COVID-19 inoculation drive could soon start in India, the government has planned a dry-run of the vaccination process in four states - Punjab, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh - on December 28 and 29.
Two districts in each of these states across the country's four zones will check their preparedness in five types of medical settings - district hospitals, Community and Public Healthcare Centres, urban and rural areas, and private facilities.
Importantly, the dry run will focus on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation, besides conducting mock drills, checking usage of Co-WIN vaccine registration app, storage and transport preparedness, and crowd management.
In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the site will also be done to prevent disease transmission.
"It will provide insights on any gaps or bottlenecks so that those could be addressed before the commencement of the COVID-19 drive. The dry run is to be conducted in one or two districts under the overall leadership of the district collector/magistrate," Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday.
As part of the vaccine roll-out plan, 2,360 training sessions have been held so far and 7,000 officials have been trained, including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, and ASHA coordinators.
India may begin vaccinating "in any week" of January, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had recently said, adding that regulator DCGI is analyzing emergency-use approval requests by Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute and Pfizer. In view of the plans, the Delhi and Hyderabad airports have started prepping to safely store and transport the temperature-sensitive vaccines. The states have also collated a list of healthcare and frontline workers who would be the first to get the jab.
After three crore healthcare and frontline workers, India expects to vaccinate another 27 crore people in the high-risk and vulnerable categories for COVID-19 over the next six to seven months, the minister had said.
While many countries, including the US, China, UK, Turkey, Israel and Russia, have started vaccinating their population, India is yet to approve a vaccine for emergency use.
The second country worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in terms of absolute numbers, India has been seeing a steady decline in its fresh Covid infections amid a rise in cases across Europe and the Americas.
The country has more than 1.1 crore cases of coronavirus of which only 3 percent are active. So far, at least 1.46 lakh people have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the first case was detected in India in January this year.