In anticipation of a vaccine for the novel coronavirus that is just one step away from being approved by India’s top drug regulator, select hospitals across the country conducted an inoculation dry run Saturday. The nationwide rehearsal was to understand the best way to administer the vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training. India, which has more than one crore three lakh cases of infection, will conduct the largest vaccination drive in the world.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan reviewed the process at GTB Hospital in New Delhi Saturday. Speaking to reporters afterward, he said the government would not compromise on any protocol in approving a vaccine, and appealed to people not to be misguided by rumours regarding the safety and efficacy of shots.
The Health Minister also said vaccines would be administered free of cost to priority groups in the first phase on India’s inoculation drive. This includes one crore healthcare workers and two crore frontline workers. Vardhan said the details of the second phase, in July, which will include vaccines for 27 crore more beneficiaries, is being worked out. “Not just in Delhi, it will be free across the country,” he said.
The first dry run was held in four states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, and Assam — earlier this week. Here’s a look at how the nationwide exercise went:
The process was held in three sites, including GTB in Shahdara, Urban Primary Health Centre in Daryaganj, and Venkateshwar Hospital in Dwarka.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain visited the facility in Daryaganj as part of the exercise as well.
In Kerala, the second phase trial run of the vaccine is being held in four districts — Trivandrum, Idukki, Palakkad and Wayanad.
After overseeing the trial run, state Health Minister K K Shailaja said, “Covishield is a safe vaccine, experts have indicated. During its trial run, there have been no major health concerns or side effects. No one should have any concerns on taking the vaccine. We have prepared a priority list on the basis of ICMR guidelines of people who will get the vaccine first.”
In Tamil Nadu, the dry run is being conducted in five districts — Chennai, Nilgris, Tirunelveli, Poonamalle and Coimbatore. State Health Secretary Dr Radhakrishnan said the process is being conducted with 25 healthcare workers.
Addressing reporters at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital (RGGH) in Chennai, Radhakrishnan said the purpose was to check the various steps of the vaccination process, including the efficiency of the CoWIN app, internet accessibility, and the management of any possible adverse events.
He added that the list of beneficiaries for the dry run was not taken randomly and they are part of the priority list of the healthcare workers the state identified to provide the vaccination.
Meanwhile, state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar Friday said the dry run would help as the government needed to administer the vaccine process carefully, which required proper planning.
A senior official in Assam told news agency PTI the dry run would continue regularly across the state until the actual vaccination began. This is in order to prepare medical staff.
Also, National Health Mission (NHM) Mission Director Lakshmanan S said the Health Department does not want to leave any stone unturned to find out any lacuna in the system before administering the vaccine to the people of the state.
“Today, we are having the dry run at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, Sonapur Civil Hospital and Khanapara State Dispensary. This is going to be a continuous process and we will be having dry runs till the actual vaccine comes to us,” PTI quoted Lakshmanan as saying.
In Bengal, the process is being conducted at three places –– Amdanga, Madhyamgram and Duttabad –– all in North 24 Parganas district, with at least 75 health workers participating in the programme. The exercise started at 9 am at Urban Primary Health Centres in Duttabad and Madhyagram and Amdanga Rural Hospital in North 24 Parganas district. “At least 75 people are participating in the programme at three centres. They have been asked to register their names for the vaccination mock drill. Their health condition will be observed for at least 30 minutes after completion of the exercise,” an official told PTI.
In Chhattisgarh, Raipur was identified by the government for the dry run of Covid-19 vaccine, but the state is conducting it at six other locations as well, “To check and smoothen any hiccups for the future, when the vaccine is available”, health officials said.
It was also conducted at GMSH, Chandigarh.
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The dry run for COVID-19 vaccination in Karnataka was held in Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Mysuru, Belagavi, and Bengaluru. The mock drill was conducted for two hours from 9 am. According to the health department, 25 beneficiaries, including designated health staff at each of the identified primary health centres(PHC), taluk and district hospitals, participated.
Nearly 100 vaccinators and 375 beneficiaries participated in the exercise in the state. After the process was completed, beneficiaries were sent messages on their mobile phones that said they were vaccinated successfully.
In Bengaluru city, the dry run was conducted in Urban PHC Kamakshipalya (BBMP West), Urban PHC Vidyapeetha (BBMP South), General Hospital in Yelahanka and PHC in Haaragadde, Anekal taluk, in Rural Bengaluru. According to health department officials, the process included four steps apart from vaccination. These are planning and preparations for vaccine introduction, uploading beneficiary and session site details, verification of documents at session sites and a mock drill of beneficiary vaccination and reporting.
According to PTI, the dry run for COVID-19 vaccination in Maharashtra is being carried out at four locations — Nagpur, Jalna, Pune and Nandurbar.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope the state is prepared to undertake actual COVID-19 vaccine inoculation exercise in the coming days.
“The dry run is being conducted in select cities, towns and villages to check the preparedness of system for actual vaccination exercise,” PTI quoted him as saying.
He said the selection of beneficiaries for the first phase of actual mass vaccination will be modelled on the Election Commission’s polling procedure. “The only exception will be that the person who gets an SMS can only come to receive the (COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected shortly) shot.
How Covid-19 vaccination process will look like once it is rolled out. A dry run happened in a primary health centre in Nandurbar today. Officials said internet connectivity an issue @IndianExpress pic.twitter.com/NbhROMdYRj
— Tabassum (@tabassum_b) January 2, 2021
“Like a polling booth, a person has to show an identity card before entering a health centre. After verification, the vaccine will be administered, and the person who received the shot will be shifted to adjacent rest room for observation (for any adverse reaction),” the state health minister said.
The first dry-run for the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out was taken up at seven facilities across Telangana. Four of the centers were located in the state capital Hyderabad, while three were identified in Mahabubnagar district.
The two-hours long exercise began at 9 am in Tilak Nagar Urban Primary Health Center, Nampally Area Hospital, Gandhi General Hospital, and Yashoda Hospital-Somajiguda. At 10.30, the trial run commenced at Janampet Primary Health Center, Mahabubnagar Government General Hospital, and Neha Sunshine Medical Institute. Twenty-five healthcare workers were identified and allocated to each of these centers to participate in the dry run.
Speaking to reporters, Health minister Eatala Rajender said that already 10,000 doctors, nurses, and health care workers in the state have been imparted requisite training and that all the practices during vaccination drives in the past will be useful. “Telangana can vaccinate tens of thousands of people a day. The Centre has indicated that it will give us 5 lakh doses of vaccine after completion of the dry-run. Thereafter, it will give us another 10 lakh doses followed by another 1 crore doses. As the doses arrive, the first to be vaccinated will be those working in the health department, followed by the personnel in the home department and those who are at a greater risk of exposure to the virus. After that it can be given to the poor.,” he said.
At each of the centers, the identities of the 25 chosen healthcare workers were cross-checked for their registration in the list. Their ID cards and Aadhaar were checked with that available in the Co-Win software application. After administration of the vaccine, they were directed to an observation room for the next half-an-hour.
(Input by Rahul V Pisharody)
A dry run to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the imminent COVID-19 immunisation drive was conducted successfully in Goa on Saturday. Goa Health Secretary Amit Satija told reporters that the mock drill was carried out at three state-run Primary Health Centres (PHCs) at Corlim, Panaji and Aldona, all in North Goa, which were identified for the purpose.
“Various aspects like necessary logistics, actual implementation of the protocol, generation of a (COVID-19) vaccination certificate were tested during the dry run in which healthcare workers took part,” PTI quoted Satija as saying.
Rajasthan Health Department conducted dry runs for anti-COVID vaccination at 19 centres of seven districts of the state. During the dry runs, the support staff for the inoculation were given training and the state now is ready for the vaccination after receiving the vaccine, he said.
Dry runs for the universal vaccination as per the protocol received from the Centre were held Saturday at 19 centres of seven districts of the state, Health Secretary Siddharth Mahajan told reporters here.
Rajasthan is fully prepared now for the first phase of vaccination, he added.
The second dry run for COVID vaccination was conducted at at various centres in four districts of Gujarat today. As many as 300 “beneficiaries” took part in the second run of mock vaccination in four districts- Anand, Valsad, Dahod and Bhavnagar.
Nearly 75 health workers underwent dummy vaccination at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh as part of the first dry run of COVID-19 vaccine programme in the state. The mock vaccination programme was conducted at three health centres in the state capital- Gandhi Nagar community health centre (CHC), Govindpura CHC and L N Hospital, PTI reported.
As part of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccination, conducted at 39 locations in all 13 districts of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday, health authorities created some dummy incidents to test the preparedness for adverse events following immunization (AEFI), a senior official said
Health Commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said some 32 minor and 26 major events were created during the dry run in all districts.
A total of 954 out of 975 pre-identified beneficiaries from specified groups, chosen for the dry run at the select locations, were administered a dummy vaccine.
The Meghalaya government on Saturday conducted a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination at five health facilities in the state, an official said.
The exercise was successfully carried out at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) in the city and two state-run facilities – Ganesh Das Hospital and Rynjah Dispensary- in East Khasi Hills district, Health Services Director Aman War said.
The vaccination trial run was also conducted in two private hospitals in East Khasi and West Garo Hills district, he said.
“The dry run exercise at five facilities was successful. In the first phase of COVID vaccination drive, around 25,000 health workers and frontline personnel will receive two doses over 28 days,” he said.
In Uttarakhand Saturday, a drill for vaccination against COVID-19 was conducted at five health facilities in Dehradun district, PTI reported. “The dry run was conducted at Mahatma Gandhi Shatabdi Hospital, Urban Health Centre Khurbura, Primary Health Centre Bhaniawala, Government Allopathic Hospital Bhogpur and Ranipokhri,” said Sonika, the COVID-19 vaccination nodal officer and Mission Director NHM.
During the exercise, which began at 9 am, a target of vaccinating 123 healthcare workers was set, she said, adding observers were deployed by the state nodal officer at every hospital for conducting the exercise successfully.
In Haryana, dry runs to check preparations for COVID-19 vaccination were held in Panckula district and in the Union Territory of Chandigarh on Saturday, PTI reported. The dry run in Haryana was conducted in Panchkula at four sites with two sites each in urban and rural settings, Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora said.
“The sites in urban areas are in Sector-4 dispensary and Sector-8 dispensary, while in rural areas the sites are in Primary Health Centre-Kot and Primary Health Centre-Raipur Rani,” he said in a statement.
The Sikkim government conducted a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination at an urban PHC in Gangtok, PTI reported. The dry run was conducted smoothly and strengths and disadvantages were known, State Immunisation Officer Dr P Denzongpa said.
State government offices in Sikkim will reopen only after January 4.
Tripura conducted a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination at three locations in the state. A total of 25 ASHA and Anganwadi workers were administered dummy vaccines at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Agartala and two PHCs in Borakha and Gandhigram in West Tripura district, Dr Siddhartha Jaiswal, Mission Director of National Health Mission, Tripura told PTI.
Teams of six members each administered the dummy vaccine to the volunteers at the three medical establishments, he said, adding a total of 180 people from Education, Social Welfare and Home departments have been trained for the purpose.
The Nagaland government conducted a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination on 75 volunteers at three locations in Dimapur, PTI reported. The dry run was conducted on 25 volunteers each at Dimapur District Hospital, Community Health Centre, Medziphema and Urban Primary Health Centre, Duncan Bosti, Dimapur, he said.
The Mizoram government successfully conducted a dry run on twenty-five people each were administered dummy vaccines at two PHCs in Aizawl under the supervision of health officials and senior doctors, PTI reported.
“The mock drill will help us review our preparedness for the actual drive and plug loopholes in logistics and training,” an official said.