Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan (File photo)
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on January 7 held a meeting with health ministers of all states and Union territories to review preparedness for the second round of the COVID-19 vaccination dry run.
As a simulation of the actual execution of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out that is expected to begin in a few days, the dry run will be conducted in all districts across Indian states and UTs, except Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, on January 8 to ensure efficient planning and management of the immunisation process.
Each district will identify three types of session sites, similar to the previous dry run conducted on January 2, including a public health facility (district hospital/medical college), private health facility and rural or urban outreach sites, according to the Union Health Ministry.
In the meeting, the Union minister called the first dry run successful. “Feedback on dry run of COVID-19 vaccine in four states was reviewed. We have made improvements based on the feedback. Tomorrow (January 8) dry run will be done in 33 states and UTs,” said the minister.
India's drug regulator has granted restricted emergency use approval to Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield, being manufactured by Serum Institute of India (SII) in the country, and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech. Both the vaccines are on “the verge of being available in the country," said Harsh Vardhan.
“Our efforts are to ensure seamless last mile delivery of the vaccine,” he said during the meeting.
"The Central government is gearing up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. The Union Ministry of Health has been pro-actively carrying out the preparations for the same, in collaboration with states and UTs and all stakeholders, over the past couple of months to ensure that the preparations for roll-out are on track," the ministry said in a statement on January 6.
"The roll out of COVID-19 vaccine is expected to begin in the near future. This milestone entails the need for testing of all planned mechanisms for conducting the vaccination drive in the country," the ministry said.
The entire planning of the vaccination drive including beneficiary registration, microplanning, and vaccination at the planned session site will be tested under the leadership of District Collector or District Magistrate during the dry run.
The dry run will also familiarise the state, district, block and hospital level officers on all aspects of the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out.