COVID-19 dry runs: From vaccination rooms to Co-WIN app, here's how mock immunisation drive is held across India

The primary objective of the dry run is to assess the operational feasibility of using the Co-WIN application in a field environment. The app was specially designed to keep a track of Covid-19 vaccination programme and allow Indian citizens to apply for a Covid-19 vaccine shot

FP Staff January 02, 2021 18:45:43 IST
COVID-19 dry runs: From vaccination rooms to Co-WIN app, here's how mock immunisation drive is held across India

Health workers during a dry run of COVID-19 vaccination, at a health care centre in Bengaluru. PTI

Amid reports of COVID-19 vaccine candidate Covishield being recommended for emergency use authorisation in India, a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination was held across India to test the linkages between planning and implementation, and to identify the challenges.

This was the second dry run this week. On Tuesday, a dry was held in select areas in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat.

According to the Union Health Ministry, the objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to "assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in the field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide the way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels".

The Co-WIN app was specially designed to keep a track of COVID-19 vaccination programme and allow Indian citizens to apply for a COVID-19 vaccine shot.

The data gathered in the dry will be used in the planned vaccination of healthcare workers and frontline workers as the initial priority groups. All the healthcare workers from government and private facilities have already been enlisted and their details uploaded as per the Centre's instructions.

The date for actual vaccination will be announced once the DCGI approves Covishield manufactured by Pune-based SII for emergency usage.

The dry run will also equip the state and UT administration in the management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics including cold chain management, the ministry stated.

Another important focus of the dry run will be on the management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) at vaccination centres. In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission, the ministry said.

The mock drill includes concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels and preparation of feedback.

What's a COVID-19 vaccination centre like

The Union health ministry has prepared a detailed checklist and shared with the states and UTs to guide them in the dry run. As per the guidelines, each vaccination centre will be divided into three rooms. The first will be a waiting room, where people will wait for their term to get vaccinated. The second room will be the vaccination room, where the vaccine will be administered. Those who have been vaccinated will then proceed to the observation room where trained personnel will observe them for any side effects for half an hour.

Explaining the procedure, a health official at Dahod in Gujarat where a mock run was held on Saturday, said that a vaccinator verifies the documents of the beneficiaries at the entry gate before sending them to the waiting room. In the waiting room, the vaccinator enters the details of the beneficiaries in the Co-WIN application before sending them to the vaccination room, where they are administered a mock vaccine and explained about various protocols.

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From there, they are sent to the observation room for thirty minutes before leaving, the official said.

As part of the mock exercise, user IDs for beneficiaries were created through data feed in the Co-WIN application, using which the beneficiaries were selected and messages sent to them along with the location of the vaccination centre.

The same process will be followed once the actual vaccine becomes available.

According to govt guidelines, each vaccination site will have a separate entry and exit besides this 'three-room set-up' with adequate space outside for awareness generation activities, display all IEC material at these sites and ensure that all SOPs and protocols are being practised at the identified sites in an ideal environment along with vaccination teams to be identified and trained in all aspects.

The dry run also tested the efficacy of the process to select beneficiaries and successfully register them in the Co-WIN app.

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Saturday that the selection of beneficiaries for the first phase of actual mass vaccination will be modelled on the Election Commission's polling procedure.

"The only exception will be that the person who gets an SMS can only come to receive the shot. "Like a polling booth, a person has to show an identity card before entering a health centre. After verification, the vaccine will be administered, and the person who received the shot will be shifted to the adjacent restroom for observation (for any adverse reaction)," the state health minister said.

He said separate rooms will be earmarked for men and women at health centres.

"The person who is administered COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored by doctors or nurses in these rooms and will be provided medical support in case he or she feels uneasy due to anxiety or any other adverse reaction. Maharashtra is now prepared to carry out (actual) vaccination drive for masses," Tope added.

96,000 vaccinators trained so far

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. A total of 2,360 participants have been trained in the 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.

Where is the dry run being held?

According to a previous statement of the health ministry, the activity was proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least three session sites.

However, in some states, the drill also includes districts that are situated in difficult terrain/have poor logistical support. In Maharashtra and Kerala, the dry run is being held in other major cities besides the state capitals.

Tamil Nadu: The dry run was held at three centres each in the districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Nilgiris, Tirunelveli and five in Coimbatore. "An initial learning was that the room earmarked for vaccination should be more spacious," Tamil Nadu Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan told reporters, adding officials from the WHO and UNICEF also witnessed the drive.

Quoting initial inputs, he said the dry run, involving about 2,000 personnel and 510 participants, showed overall satisfactory results, adding that the focus of the exercise was preparation and planning for the proposed roll-out of thev accination. The mobile application and other processes, including identification of beneficiaries worked well and aspects like internet connectivity in hilly regions were also studied and all of these observations would be sent to the Centre, he said.

Goa: The mock drill was carried out at three state-run Primary Health Centres (PHCs) at Corlim, Panaji and Aldona, all in North Goa, which were identified for the purpose.

Kerala: At least 25 health workers each took part in the dry run, organised in four districts of Kerala on Saturday. The vaccine mock drill was conducted in four districts - Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Wayanad and Palakkad. Kerala is planning to inoculate government and private sector health workers, medical students and Asha and Anganwadi workers the first phase of the vaccination and so far, 3.13 lakh people have registered for the same.

Telangana: The dry run was held at four centres in Hyderabad and three centres at Mahabubnagar. The state government has already trained 10,000 healthcare personnel for administering vaccines and the state has the capacity to vaccinate 10 lakh per day, state Health Minister Eatala Rajender said on Saturday. The government is expecting to receive five lakh doses of vaccines initially, followed by another 10 lakh and one crore doses subsequently.

Rajasthan: Dry runs for the universal vaccination as per the protocol received from the Centre were held Saturday at 19 centres of seven districts of the state, including three in Jaipur. During the dry runs, the support staff for the inoculation were given training and the state now is ready for the vaccination after receiving the vaccine.

Karnataka: The dry run for COVID-19 vaccination is being held in five districts -- Bengaluru Urban, Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamogga, according to reports. In Karnataka, three session sites — one each at district, taluk and primary health centre levels — have been chosen for the dry run. After the dry run, feedback will be collected from those session sites of each district, the government said.

Maharashtra: Four districts in the state have been selected for the dry run of the coronavirus vaccine. These include Pune, Nagpur, Jalna and Nandurbar. In Pune district, the health centres at the district hospital in Aundh, primary health care centre at Man, and Jijamata Hospital in Pimpri Chinchwad have been enrolled for the dry run. In Nagpur, Daaga hospital, rural hospital in Kamptee and primary health care centre in Nagpur city has been identified for the run. In Jalna, centres selected include district hospital, subdistrict hospital, Ambad and Shelgaon primary health care centre in Badnapur taluka. In Nandurbar, district hospital, primary health care centre in Ashte and Navapursub-district hospital has been selected.

Punjab: After successfully conducting a two-day dry run on Tuesday in the two districts of Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr), Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu recently said in a statement that the sate will be conducting another drive in Patiala on 2 and 3 January with support from UNDP and WHO. As per the Centre's guidelines, the dry run will be conducted at Government Medical College; Sadhbhavna Hospital; and the Community Health Centre in Shatrana.

Haryana: According to PTI, the state has planned a dry run at three sites in Panchkula. The drive will be held at three sites, officials said.

Gujarat: After a first successful dry run earlier this week, the Gujarat govt held a day-long dry run to check the preparations for COVID-19 vaccination in four districts of Gujarat. The govt had selected the districts of Dahod, Bhavnagar, Valsad and Anand for the second dry run. As many as 300 registered beneficiaries were to undergo dummy vaccination at 12 centres across these four districts.

Gujarat Health Commissioner Jaiprakash Shivahare had told reporters on Friday that the state government has already trained 16,000 vaccinators and created a cold chain infrastructure to store one crore vaccine doses as part of its preparation in case the actual vaccination drive is announced.

Uttar Pradesh: The state has planned a dry run for vaccination against COVID-19 at six places in the state capital Lucknow. According to reports, the state has trained 70,000 vaccinators and will be conducting the initial vaccination in phases.

Chhattisgarh: The state govt has identified seven districts for the dry run namely Raipur, Surguja, Bilaspur, Rajnandgaon, Durg, Bastar and Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi (GPM). Three session sites -- a district hospital, community health centres (CHCs) and primary health centres (PHCs) have been selected as centres for the exercise.

Delhi: Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Shahdara, Urban Primary Health Centre, Daryaganj, and Venkateshwar Hospital, Dwarka, are the three sites in Delhi which have been selected for the dry run of the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine in the National Capital. The Delhi govt is planning to administer COVID-19 vaccine to 51 lakh priority category persons in the city in the first phase of the vaccination

West Bengal: West Bengal is conducting the COVID vaccination mock drill at Urban Primary Health Centres at Duttabad and Madhyagram and at Amdanga Rural Hospital in North 24 Parganas district. Twenty-five health workers were identified for the dry run.

Second dry run in a week

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

No major issues were observed in the operational aspects during this dry run. All States expressed confidence in the operational guidelines and IT platform for large scale programme implementation, the Union health ministry said.

How the Centre, states prepared for the dry run

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had on Thursday said that for each of the three-session sites, the Medical Officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers).

The states and 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 Co-WIN application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries, the ministry stated.

The states and UTs have been asked to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for the adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, internet connectivity, electricity, safety, etc. and prepare at least three model session sites in each state (at state capital) for demonstration.

With inputs from PTI

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