The centre is gearing up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. As part of the mega vaccination drive, trainers and vaccine administrators are being assisted to ensure smooth distribution. The Centre has outlined a detailed training module for all levels, including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, ASHA coordinators and others involved in the process.
The training includes operational aspects like the organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for management, deployment of HR Cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and inter-sectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, infection prevention protocols, etc.
Around 2,360 participants have been trained during the national-level training. The state-level training has been completed in all states/UTs and 7,000 district level trainees, except Lakshadweep that will conduct it soon, got hands-on experience on vaccine handling and distribution. As many as 681 districts have completed the training of medical officers on operational guidelines. The vaccination team training has also completed in 1,399 blocks.
To address queries on COVID-19 vaccination and Co-WIN portal, the capacity of national helpline 1075 and state helpline 104 has also been strengthened.
The government will also conduct a 'dry run' in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, and Punjab, to assess readiness. Each state will plan it in two districts and five-session type settings like district hospital, CHC/PHC, urban site, private health facility, rural outreach, etc.
This 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. This two-day activity is planned on December 28 and 29. Cold storage and transportation arrangements for COVID-19 vaccine, management of crowd at sites will also be analysed.
It'll focus on how medical officials handle adverse events following immunisation. Adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site to prevent disease transmission will also be analysed.
The mock drill will include monitoring and review at block and district levels. These details will be shared with the health ministry.
The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended three prioritised population groups, including healthcare workers (about 1 crore), frontline workers (about 2 crore), and prioritised age group, for phase 1 of vaccination.
Vaccines are temperature sensitive and need to be stored at a specific temperature. The government says the current cold chain in India is capable of storing an additional quantity of COVID-19 vaccine required for the first 3 crore prioritised population.