India’s second dry run for Covid-19 vaccine underway, Health Minister says entire population will be vaccinated soon

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A second dry run for the Covid-19 vaccination roll-out was conducted in select hospitals across the country on Friday, five days after the first mock drill was held. The nationwide exercise is being done to understand the best way to administer the vaccine and plug loopholes in logistics and training. India, which has more than one crore four lakh cases of infection so far, will soon conduct the largest vaccination drive in the world. This comes after India’s drugs regulator recently approved Oxford COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute, and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.

Tamil Nadu: Union Health Minister in Chennai, praises state’s ‘robust’ health system

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan landed in Chennai Friday to oversee preparations and review the mock drill of the Covid-19 vaccination. The Health Minister first paid a visit to the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital (RGGH), after which he went to other vaccination centres, including Omandhurar Government Hospital and later to the General Medical Store Depot in Parimedu. Vardhan will also visit a vaccination centre in Apollo Hospital, and later the HLL Bio-Tech campus in Chengalpattu.

Vardhan was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, Health Secretary Radhakrishnan, and other senior officials. While addressing reporters at RGGH, the Union Health Minister spoke of the national dry run, and praised Tamil Nadu for its robust health system.

Addressing a press conference, the health minister said the vaccines will be given to the citizens very soon. “In a short time, India has done well by developing vaccines… In the next few days, in the near future, we should be able to give these vaccines to our countrymen. It will be given to our healthcare professional followed by frontline workers.”

“We have ensured that every detail is conveyed to the people from the national level to the grassroots. Lakhs of healthcare workers have been trained and the process continues. I request the NGOs working in the field of health to help in the smooth conduct of the COVID19 vaccination programme and mobilisation of beneficiaries in the best possible manner,” the health minister added.

Vardhan said the central government had started planning for the vaccination drive nearly five months ago, and was using the mock drills to learn more and ensure states are prepared for the vaccination drive. “As you are aware, we started the process with four states and few districts in the fag end of December 2020. Then, taking inputs from there, we made amendments to the guidelines. On January 2, we did the dry run in 125 districts across the country and following that, it is now done across the country, except the three states which have done it earlier,” the Union Health Minister said.

“I know a couple of months back, Chennai was in a lot of trouble. We were worried about a lot of states and Tamil Nadu was one of them. But there has been meticulous planning about testing, tracing, and treatment. The state has a very robust health system,” Vardhan said, adding that he was particularly impressed the state had conducted 100 per cent of its Covid-19 tests through RT-PCR.

National Capital: Trial run in South, South-East, North-West and New Delhi 

In the national capital, the exercise is taking place in South Delhi, South-East Delhi, North-West Delhi and New Delhi.  The first dry run for the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out was held in Delhi on January 2 at three sites — the GTB Hospital, Shahdara, the Urban Primary Health Centre, Daryaganj and the Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had earlier said the COVID-19 vaccine will be provided to the people of Delhi for free once it arrives and asserted that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had made all preparations for the vaccination drive.

As many as 10 vaccination centres have been chosen in South Delhi for the dry run, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the Safdarjung Hospital, the Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, the Pushpwati Singhania Hospital and Research Institute.

Second dry run of Covid vaccination at SSKM hospital in West Bengal on Friday.

In the South East district, 19 sites have been chosen across three sub-divisions. The sites include the Batra Hospital, the Fortis Hospital, the Escorts Hospital, the National Heart Institute, the Holy Family Hospital, the Apollo Hospital and the MCW Gautampuri.

In the North West district, the 12 sites chosen for the exercise include the Max Hospital and the Fortis Hospital, both at Shalimar Bagh, the Saroj Hospital, the Jaipur Golden Hospital and the BSA Hospital, the officials said. Four sites have been chosen in New Delhi district, including the Northern Railway central hospital and the Fortis hospital, Vasant Kunj.

Karnataka: Dry run in 263 places in all 30 districts 

The first dry run for the vaccination was held on January 2 in five districts — Bengaluru, Kalaburagi, Shivamogga, Mysuru and Belagavi. This time, according to the state health department, it is being carried out in six centres in each of the state’s 30 districts, and will cover district hospitals, medical college hospitals (government and private), urban primary health centres, taluk hospitals, primary health centres, community health centres, and private hospitals.

On Friday morning, Health Minister Dr Sudhakar visited Aster CMI hospital in Hebbal in Bengaluru city where a dry run for vaccination is being carried out. He inspected the arrangements made for the trial run.

Sudhakar said a detailed discussion was held with the Centre regarding the preparation and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine.

“We are conducting a vaccination dry run at 263 places, earlier it was planned at three locations in each district, but we have prepared to conduct it at seven locations in each district. This dry run will be held at 24 district hospitals, 20 medical colleges, 43 taluk hospitals, 31 community health centres, 87 primary health centres, 30 urban primary health care centres and 28 private health centres across the state,” he added.

Maharashtra

In Mumbai, as many as 15 vaccination units have been set up and 25 healthcare workers were selected for Friday’s dry-run for vaccine administration. “A counsellor has been appointed to counsel those fearing vaccination,” ANI quoted Dr Rajesh Dere, Vaccination Centre in-charge at BKC Jumbo dedicated COVID19 hospital, in Mumbai, as saying.

(With inputs from Arun Janardhanan and Darshan Devaiah)





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