New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Amid concerns over the new strain of COVID-19 infection, a two-day dry run for coronavirus vaccine program began in India from Monday. The dry run -- which will be conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Assam -- aims to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country.

As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the dry run will enable end-to-end mobilisation and testing of COVID-19 vaccination process and check the usage of Co-WIN in the field environment.

"The training includes all operational aspects of training like the organisation of vaccination sessions, use of Co-WIN IT platform for the management of the entire vaccination process, deployment of HR Cold chain preparedness, management of adverse events, communications and intersectoral coordination, biomedical waste management, infection prevention protocols, etc.," it had said in a press release.

How the government plans to run the dry run?

The Union Health Ministry has said that the exercise will be carried out in two districts of each state and "preferably in five different session-type settings -- district hospital, community health centre (CHC) or primary health care centre (PHC), urban site, private health facility and rural outreach".

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Under this exercise, mock drills will be conducted which will include concurrent monitoring. The feedback will be reviewed at block and district levels and sent to state governments and Centre for assessment. The Centre has also prepared a detailed checklist for the states to carry out the exercise.

"The Central government is gearing up for the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine across the country. As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the immunisation process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states," the Health Ministry said in a release.

How this exercise will help the government in COVID-19 immunisation drive?

The Centre has said that this exercise will help it strengthen human resource for vaccination drive in India. It has said that nearly 2,300 participants have been trained across the country for this vaccination drive.

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The Health Ministry has said that to facilitate redressal of queries on COVID-19 vaccination and Co-WIN portal related queries, national 1075 and state 104 helpline capacity has also been strengthened to address queries beyond their routine support.

What is the status of coronavirus vaccine in India?

Currently, there are six COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different clinical trial stages in India. Out of the six candidates, three are in the pre-clinical stage.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said that India will likely authorise its first COVID-19 vaccine in January. He, however, had said that "safety and effectiveness" of vaccine is Centre's "first priority".

"India is not less than any country when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine and research. Our first priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. We do not want any comprise on that. Our regulators are analysing them with seriousness," he had said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma