A week after a small scale dry run, Maharashtra is gearing up for another on Friday across 34 districts. At least 130 vaccination centres will conduct mock runs to vaccinate 25 beneficiaries each.
Officials said the entire drill is aimed at finding out what kind of logistical issues can come up and resolve them before the actual drive begins after January 13. “We will undertake the dry run in 34 districts, each having three centres. In addition, 27 corporations will hold at least one vaccination camp,” said Dr D N Patil, the state immunisation in charge.
While no vaccine will be used in the process, the entire mock run will prop issues related to registration and crowd management.
A video conference meeting of district officials was held on Wednesday to prepare for the dry run. In areas where there is no Internet connectivity, district officials have been instructed to print copies of beneficiary lists and fill details manually.
“This data will be uploaded on the Co-WIN software later,” Patil said. In Mumbai, the three centres will be come up at Dr RN Cooper hospital, Rajawadi hospital and BKC jumbo Covid facility.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said each centre will have a team of five officials to handle the process. “We had finalised eight centres for the actual vaccination drive, but now we may increase the number. For the dry run, one centre, with 15 booths, will be set up in BKC to immunise 15 healthcare workers at a time,” he added.
While in Rajawadi hospital, five booths will be set up, Cooper hospital will have 10 booths.
In Chandrapur, District Health Officer (DHO) Dr Raj Gehlot said they have already had a trial run, sending an SMS to the beneficiaries to inform them about the date, time and venue for vaccination and cross-checking if the correct message was delivered by the Co-WIN software. “I have registered myself for the trial. The SMS system works fine,” he added.
In Beed, DHO Dr Radhakishan Pawar said while there are no Internet issues, health officials at the centres may face technical problems. The dry run on Friday will be between 9 am and 12 pm. Officials said preparations will start by 8 am, and officials have been asked to upload data and report by 2 pm.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state Covid-19 Task Force, said: “The dry run is being held to overcome logistical challenges… The trial will show if problems exist in storage, supply and administration, and these will be ironed out.”
He added that the sate government will have to create awareness to prevent possible “vaccine hesitancy” among healthcare workers. Maharashtra is set to vaccinate 7.58 lakh healthcare workers in the first phase.
“I am sure both (Covishield and Covaxin) vaccines are equally safe. We need to vaccinate because we want to save vulnerable groups. We need to protect all those directly taking care of Covid patients like healthcare workers and also all those vulnerable to severe infections like senior citizens and people with comorbidities,” Joshi said.
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