This Article is From Dec 18, 2020

How Telangana's Mega Covid Vaccine Drive Will Be Similar To An Election

Telangana Vaccination Drive: People must produce one of nine photo identity proofs, except Aadhaar, at the vaccination centres in order to get the jab.

Telangana is ramping up its infrastructure to increase storage capacity for vaccine doses


The protocols for the vaccination drive against coronavirus in Telangana, expected to kick off by mid-January, will be very similar to the process of voting in an election.

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora was quoted as saying that the Election Commission can help in the vaccine drive if the government seeks its assistance.

Explaining the similarities, Telangana's public health director said the process will be like that of a general election.

"The beneficiaries will be enumerated, data will be collected and uploaded in the Co-WIN software. There are various identity cards that can be produced. At least one of the ID card number is entered into the software. The beneficiary has to come with the card. It will be validated as per the software. It is similar to the election voting process,'' Dr G Srinivas Rao told NDTV.

Multiple booths will be there, located usually in a healthcare facility, so that if there is any adverse reaction, it can be taken care of immediately.

"In the booths, different kinds of officers will be posted, from vaccinators, ANMs, nurses and doctors. There will be people from police and revenue department. People will be posted in the registration desk. Whoever comes for getting vaccinated, the beneficiary, their identity will be validated and message will be sent from cowin software," he said.

Even before this, a text message is sent over phone that gives details of who will get vaccinated, on which day, what time and in which centre and by what vaccine. 

While no formal emergency use authorisation has been granted to any vaccine in the country, sources said it is likely to be Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and the vaccine of Serum Institute of India as both are seen as more suitable for Indian conditions.

"The beneficiary has to come, first (give the) validation and then do the registration. Then he or she goes to vaccination booth, the ANM or staff nurse gives the shot. Then, there is an observation room where the beneficiary will be expected to wait for half an hour. If there is no adverse reaction, they can go after that,'' Mr Rao said.

Those who are active with the virus, after testing positive, will not be vaccinated. Those who have recovered after earlier testing positive are eligible to be vaccinated.

In Telangana, the first dose will be given to 80 lakh people in targeted groups. That is expected to take eight to ten days, as there are 10,000 vaccinators just in the government sector in Telangana. The second dose will be given in another four weeks, the state's top public Health official had told NDTV earlier this week.

People must produce one of nine photo identity proofs, except Aadhaar, at the vaccination centres in order to get the jab.

"Those left out may be given option of self-registration," he said.

The officer said authorities will send out details of when and in which centres people can get vaccinated. Just like voting centres, there will be deployment of police and other staff at the vaccination centres in Telangana, he said.

Dr VK Paul, who heads the group of experts on vaccine administration for COVID-19 that advises Prime Minister Narendra Modi had told news agency Reuters that the country's vast election machinery will be deployed in the country for getting people vaccinated against the virus.

Preparations are in full swing in Telangana for the big operation of vaccinating all targeted and vulnerable groups in the state.

Telangana's COVID-19 war room has turned into its centralised state control room for vaccination, from where planning, training and strategy are being finalised for vaccinating people.

The state is expected to receive 1.6 crore doses of vaccine for 80 lakh people, to be given in two shots. The targeted beneficiaries include three lakh doctors, nurses, ward boys and technicians in public and private sector.

The second group are frontline workers, which includes an estimated one lakh police personnel, sanitary workers and defence personnel. The third category is those above 50 years, expected to be 18 per cent of the population and the fourth is those below 50 with comorbidities, which will account for 2-3 per cent of the population.

The state is also ramping up its infrastructure to increase storage capacity for the vaccine doses. New cold chain vans have been ordered for every district to transport vaccines.