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Gujarat COVID-19 dry run: 'Beneficiaries' undergo dummy vaccination

The two-day end-to-end dry run was being carried out to test the laid out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccination and to provide insights into any gaps to be addressed before the commencement of the actual vaccination drive.

December 29, 2020 / 01:38 PM IST
SII has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for COVID-19 vaccine - Covishield

SII has partnered with global pharma giant AstraZeneca and the Oxford University for COVID-19 vaccine - Covishield

Identified 'beneficiaries' are undergoing dummy vaccination at various centres in Gandhinagar and Rajkot districts of Gujarat on the second day of the COVID-19 vaccination dry run on Tuesday, officials said.

The two-day end-to-end dry run was being carried out to test the laid out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccination and to provide insights into any gaps to be addressed before the commencement of the actual vaccination drive.

Gujarat is one of the four states chosen by the Central government to conduct the mock COVID-19 vaccination drive.

Health workers are among the first 'beneficiaries' identified for the mock vaccination drive being conducted at four health centres in Gandhinagar city.

Explaining the procedure, an official said a dummy vaccination was dispatched from an Urban Health Centre (UHC) to these four booths.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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"At each booth, three rooms, each identified for the purposes of waiting, vaccinating and observing, are readied for the beneficiaries who are given dummy vaccination," an official said.

The Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation (GMC) has identified 125 'beneficiaries' in the city.

The COVID-19 vaccination dry run consists of several steps like the time taken for dispatch of a vaccine from a centre to a booth; scrutiny of beneficiary details in Co-Win software developed by the Union Health Ministry; training vaccinators; creating facilities for vaccine store among others, officials said.

"We received a list of beneficiaries from Co-Win software. Trained vaccinators have been deputed in three rooms created for different purposes at these booths (identified for the mock drill)," said Dr MH Solanki, Chief District Health Officer, Gandhinagar.

A beneficiary said that the process was easy to understand and everything went smoothly.

"As per the SMS sent to me, I arrived here at 9 am. I first went to the waiting room, where my details were verified. After vaccination, I was given a slip mentioning details, such as my name, time at which I was administered vaccine, contact details in case I need emergency help," a woman health worker told reporters.

She said a vaccinator explained to her various aspects like the timing of the second dose of vaccine and the COVID-19 protocol she is expected to follow strictly.

I was then directed to a waiting room where I remained under observation for nearly half an hour, the health worker said.

Earlier in the day, the dummy vaccine was dispatched from the UHC located in sector-2 in Gandhinagar to four vaccination centres located at PHC, CHC, civil hospital and a private hospital.

World Health Organisation (WHO) representative Dr Aniket Rana said the dry run was vital and it was being conducted as per the training protocol related to actual vaccination.

"As you know, preparation for vaccines (through the dry run) is important. As part of the training protocol, we offered training for preparedness on aspects like how the software developed for the purpose will work, and other operational aspects to see what all hurdles come in the way and how to resolve them, so as to ensure smooth run when the actual vaccine arrives," he told reporters.

He said public participation remained the biggest challenge.

"Even if we are fully prepared, but if people's participation is not proper, the exercise will fail. We need to build confidence among people so that they can approach us for vaccination with confidence. Operationally, we are prepared...The dry run is aimed to build confidence among the public," Dr Rana said.

The Gujarat government has identified 19 sites to conduct the dry run.

The Central government will be informed if any gaps are detected during the programme.

In Gandhinagar, a total of 1500 vaccinations have been trained for the purpose.

The state government has already identified 4.31 lakh health workers, 6.93 lakh frontline workers, 1.03 crore citizens above the age of 50 and 2.67 lakh citizens under the age of 50 but with severe comorbidities, such as Thalassemia and heart problems, for the first phase of the actual COVID-19 vaccination.

Gujarat has 2,195 cold chain points at present that can store upto 1 crore doses of coronavirus vaccine, the government had said.
PTI
first published: Dec 29, 2020 01:34 pm

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