- The dry-run is planned in Punjab, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh
- It will focus on management of possible adverse events after immunisation
- Two districts in each state will check preparedness in medical settings
To prepare for a COVID-19 inoculation drive that could start soon in India, the government has planned a dry-run of the vaccination process in four states - Punjab, Gujarat, Assam and Andhra Pradesh - on December 28 and 29.
Two districts in each of these states across the country's four zones will check their preparedness in five types of medical settings - district hospitals, Community and Public Healthcare Centres, urban and rural areas, and private facilities.
Importantly, the dry run will focus on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation, besides conducting mock drills, checking usage of the Co-WIN vaccine registration app, storage and transport preparedness, and crowd management.
In addition, infection control practices will be followed at the site to prevent disease transmission.
"It will provide insights on any gaps or bottlenecks so that those could be addressed before the commencement of the COVID-19 drive. The dry run is to be conducted in one or two districts under the overall leadership of the district collector/magistrate," Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu said on Thursday.
As part of vaccine roll-out plan, 2,360 training sessions have been held so far and 7,000 officials have been trained, including medical officers, vaccinators, alternate vaccinators, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, and coordinators of accredited social health activists (ASHA).
India may begin vaccinating "in any week" of January, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had recently said, adding that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) is analysing emergency-use approval requests by Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute and Pfizer.
The Delhi and Hyderbabad airports have started prepping to safely store and transport the temperature-sensitive vaccines. The states have also collated a list of healthcare and frontline workers who would be the first to get the jab.
After three crore healthcare and frontline workers, India expects to vaccinate 27 crore people in the high-risk and vulnerable categories for COVID-19 over next six to seven months, the minister had said.
India - the second country worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in terms of absolute numbers - has been seeing a steady decline in its fresh Covid infections amid a rise in cases across Europe, Americas and some African countries.
The country has more than 1.1 crore cases of which only 3 per cent are active. So far, at least 1.46 lakh people have lost their lives to COVID-19 since the first cases was detected in India in January this year.