India is set to hold a two-day dry run on December 28 and 29 in four states ahead of the proposed vaccination drive, which is likely to be kicked off in January. The states have put into place additional measures including testing of people arriving from abroad in the wake of a new strain of the virus detected in the UK.
To assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 vaccination drive, a dry run has been planned in four states Punjab, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.
The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, the Union Health Ministry had said.
In a statement, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that detailed training modules had 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 others involved in the implementation process at various levels.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The training includes operational aspects such as organising vaccination sessions, use of the Co-WIN IT platform, cold chain preparedness, managing adverse events, communication, biomedical waste management, and infection prevention protocols.
All four states will report their observations recorded during the program to the centre. The government is planning to vaccinate 25-30 crore people by July 2021. These people will healthcare and frontline workers and other high-risk groups.
Meanwhile, India is likely to grant emergency use authorisation to the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in the next few days as the updated data submitted by the Serum Institute of India (SII) is 'satisfactory'.
India's COVID-19 tally of cases climbed to 1,01,87,850 on December 27. A total of 1,47,622 deaths have been reported so far in the country.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 outbreak