In what can be termed as very important news, the government said that a dry run for the COVID-19 vaccine will be held in all states and Union Territories on January 2 (Saturday).

The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites; some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support. 

Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their Capital.

It is to be noted that this would be the second time that a dry-run is being conducted in the country. The first dry run was held on December 28 and 29 in four states, the health ministry said.

The planning for the vaccine introduction will be as per the operational guidelines issued by the Ministry on December 20, 2020. For each of the three session sites, the concerned medical officer-in-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The States/UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries is uploaded in Co-WIN. These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. The States and UTs shall prepare the facilities and users to be created on CoWIN application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries.

Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose. 2,360 participants have been trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in District level training in 719 districts. 

States are augmenting the State helpline 104 (which shall be used in addition to 1075) for any vaccine/software related query. Orientation and capacity building of the Call Centre executives has taken place in the States/UTs. States were also encouraged to use the FAQs issued by the Health Ministry proactively to address any such query.

The decision was taken after Union Health Secretary  Rajesh Bhushan today chaired a high-level meeting to review the preparedness at session sites for COVID-19 vaccination with Health secrataries, NHM MDs and other health administrators of all States/UTs through video conference.

The dry run is aimed at gearing up for the rollout of the COVID19 vaccine across the country.

Currently, three firms are being examined for potential vaccine-the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, and Pfizer.

'Covishield' -- developed by Oxford University and Pharma major AstraZeneca-manufactured by Serum Institute of India is being seen as the frontrunner. Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' has not finished gathering participants for its phase-3 trials.

Pfizer has not yet presented its data to the regulator.

It is to be noted that this would be the second time that a dry-run is being conducted in the country for coronavirus. The first dry run was held on December 28 and 29 in four states, the health ministry said.

The first round of the dry run was conducted in Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, Punjab on 28-29th December 2020 in two districts each where five-session sites with 25 beneficiaries each were identified. 



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