Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan appealed to people on Saturday not to be misguided by rumours regarding safety and efficacy of the coronavirus vaccine, adding that there would be no compromise on any protocol before approving it.
Vardhan said free vaccine would be provided in the first phase of inoculation to the most prioritised beneficiaries, including one crore healthcare and two crore frontline workers. He added that details of how 27 crore priority beneficiaries — those above 50 years of age and those below it having comorbidities — would be vaccinated until July were being finalised.
During a visit to the GTB hospital in Delhi to review the dry run of administering the jabs, he said: “We will not compromise on any protocol before approving a vaccine.”
Vardhan underlined that vaccine hesitancy was an issue even when the country started polio immunisation drive, but “we must remember its success”.
In the first phase of COVID-19 immunisation drive, free vaccine “shall be provided across the nation to most prioritised beneficiaries”, Vardhan tweeted, adding that those include 1 crore healthcare and 2 crore frontline workers.
“Details of how further 27 cr priority beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July are being finalised,” he added.
Vardhan also reviewed dry run of administering COVID-19 vaccine at Urban Primary Health Centre at Daryaganj.
The dry run began in Delhi on Saturday at three sites selected for the purpose, officials said.
It is set to be conducted by all state and Union territory administrations on January 2 to test the linkages between planning and implementation, identify challenges and to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment. The dry run will also equip the administration in management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management, the ministry had stated.
Guidelines for the nationwide dry run have been updated based on the feedback from the insightful pilot dry run held on Monday and Tuesday in four states, Vardhan said.
The first round of the dry run was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab in two districts each where five session sites with 25 beneficiaries each were identified. The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites.
As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose.
An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI), and adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site to prevent disease transmission, the ministry had said.