All States To Begin Vaccine Dry Run On Saturday

The dry run will happen at selective places in each state, sources said. The process, in which participants receive dummy Covid vaccines, is meant to test the mechanisms and reveal possible gaps in the system ahead of the actual vaccination drive.

New Delhi:

A dry run for Covid vaccine will be held in all states on Saturday, January 2, sources told NDTV as authorities hinted that approval for a vaccine could be around the corner. On Thursday, the Union Health Secretary chaired a high-level meeting with all states ad Union Territories to discuss the issue. This is the second dry run being conducted in the country -- the first was held on December 28 and 29 in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat and had gone off without a hitch, the health ministry said.  

Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this, the health ministry said. Of these, 2,360 participants have been trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 with district level training in 719 districts.

The dry run will be conducted at selective places in each state, sources said. It will be conducted in in at least three sites of each state capital. Some states will have to include districts situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support. Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry run in major cities other than their capitals.

The process, in which 25 health workers will receive dummy Covid vaccines at each spot, is meant to test the mechanisms and reveal possible gaps in the system ahead of the actual vaccination drive.

The health ministry said this drive will also test the operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment.

"An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunization," read a statement from the ministry.

On Tuesday, the ministry said the two-day mock drill showed India is ready to start inoculation. "All the four participating states are satisfied with systems put in place for COVID-19 vaccination process," the Health Ministry said in a statement.

The countrywide dry run comes amid anticipation of a launch of a vaccine in the New Year. On Thursday, the country's Drugs Controller General Dr VG Somani said, "Probably we will have a new year with something in hand".

The assurance came ahead of a crucial meeting of the expert panel on emergency use vaccine authorization set for Friday. The panel is examining applications from three firms – the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer.

Of these, the 'Covishield' -- developed by Oxford University and Pharma major AstraZeneca – that's being manufactured by Serum Institute is seen as a frontrunner.

Pfizer is yet to present its data to the regulator and the indigenous applicant, Bharat Biotech, which is partnering the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for its 'Covaxin', has not completed recruitment for its Phase 3 trial.