New Delhi (NVI): In a bid to assess the preparedness, second phase of nationwide coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination dry run, the largest such drill undertaken so far, has begun across all states and Union Territories (UTs) of India, except Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh.
Earlier, a dry run was carried out in eight districts on December 28-29 and the first countrywide drill covering 74 districts was held on January 2.
The process began days after India’s drug regulator gave its clearance for two Covid-19 vaccines – Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
All participating districts have identified three types of sessions for the mock drive: district hospital, medical college/private health facility, urban/rural outreach. Following this, beneficiary registration, micro-planning and vaccination will take place.
After the dry run, site organisers will hold review meetings after the session to gather feedback.
Furthermore, the Co-WIN digital platform, government’s Covid-19 vaccination online portal, will also be tested through these exercises.
In this regard, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan today visited Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital in Chennai to review the dry run for administering the Covid-19 vaccine.
Speaking at a press briefing, Vardhan said the government has ensured that every detail is conveyed to the people from the national level to the grassroots level. “Lakhs of healthcare workers trained and the process continues,” he added.
Vardhan praised the Tamil Nadu government for its efforts to contain the virus spread in the state. “I chose to be in Tamil Nadu today and I would like to place on record my appreciation for the govt of Tamil Nadu. Initially, we were worried about many states, including Tamil Nadu. But now it has managed to do well,” he said.
The Union health minister further stated that the country has done well by developing vaccines in a short time and the inoculation will start in the next few days. The government will give priority to people who are at high risk – health care workers and front line workers. “In the next stage, we will take up people aged above 50,” he said.
In addition to this, the Health Minister also requested the NGOs working in the field of health to help in the smooth conduct of the vaccination program and mobilisation of beneficiaries in the best possible manner.
He added, “We were the first ones in the world to take a note of WHO announcement regarding Covid. One year ago, on January 8, we held a meeting of the health department officials regarding preparing ourselves.”
Vardhan stressed that India has the highest recovery rate and a very low mortality rate. “We started our journey with one testing lab, and after one year, we have 2300 labs in the country. We are exporting PPE kits and we have the ability to export N95 masks, ventilators etc,” he said.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also talked about India’s preparedness to cope up with the Covid-19 pandemic and the pro-active approach by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“In a country as a vast as India, everything is done smoothly and meticulously without any glitches. We started the preparation for the impending vaccination drive 4-5 months back. The Prime Minister had constituted an expert group for vaccine administration,” he said.