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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Covid-19 vaccine dry run lesson: Report adverse events faster

Sources told The Indian Express that during the first dry run, conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam – in four districts each -- it emerged that pin codes from some villages were not mapped to the Co-Win platform, the flagship digital system that will track the vaccination programme.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi | Updated: January 1, 2021 12:26:17 pm
COVID-19 vaccine in Gujarat, Coronavirus vaccine in Gujarat, Vaccine registration in India, COVID-19, Ahmedabad city news, Indian ExpressVaccinators flagged that “adverse events” could only be reported to the Co-Win platform after the end of an entire vaccination session. (Representational Image)

Better mapping of remote locations, real-time reporting of adverse events and ramping up training — these are the three key learnings from the first Covid vaccine dry run conducted early this week in four states that will be incorporated in the second dry run across the country January 2.

Significantly, this will happen a day after the expert committee of regulators is set to hold a crucial meeting on the grant of approval for vaccine candidates manufactured by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech.

Sources told The Indian Express that during the first dry run, conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam – in four districts each — it emerged that pin codes from some villages were not mapped to the Co-Win platform, the flagship digital system that will track the vaccination programme.

“These pin codes had to be manually uploaded by the vaccination team during the dry run,” an official said. This is important given that many locations are in remote and challenging terrain.

In fact, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan, who chaired a meeting to review the preparedness at session sites Thursday, recommended that in the second dry run, states include at least three sites in the capital city and in districts located in such areas.

Second, sources said, vaccinators flagged that “adverse events” could only be reported to the Co-Win platform after the end of an entire vaccination session – in this case, of 100 people.

“This is problematic,” said an official. “Suppose in the seventh case of vaccination, there is an adverse event. That person, as per protocol, has to wait for 30 minutes and then he/she will be treated by the team and only then can they leave the site. The vaccinator, meanwhile, can report it to the system only after the 100th vaccination. This delay may make it difficult to be accurate and specific while reporting details of the event,” explained an official.

To address this, the Co-Win software has been tweaked to ensure that the adverse event can now be reported as and when it occurs.

The third lesson, sources said, is related to inadequate training. In some sites, the five-member team did not know who was supposed to do what.

“There was confusion in the distinction between the work of the presiding officer and that of the four vaccination officers. It should be like in an election polling team: one checks the electoral roll, the other puts the ink, so on. Therefore, adequate training was given to these persons,” an official said.

Preparing for Saturday’s dry run, the Union Health Ministry has asked all states to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for “adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, safety”. And prepare at least three model session sites in each state.

An important focus of the dry run Sources told The Indian Express that during the first dry run, conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam – in four districts each — it emerged that pin codes from some villages were not mapped to the Co-Win platform, the flagship digital system that will track the vaccination programme.will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and adherence to infection-control practices at the session site.

The mock drill will also include concurrent monitoring and review at block and district levels. The state task force will review feedback and share it with the Union Health Ministry.

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