Essentiality of Dry run for COVID vaccines

Essentiality of Dry run for COVID vaccines

Synopsis:  Dry runs aimed at testing the planned operations are essential for Covid 19 vaccination process.

Background

  • In the coming weeks, the Phase-3 data of two COVID-19 vaccines tested by Indian manufacturers are expected to be submitted for emergency use approval.
  • A countrywide rollout to immunize the four high-risk groups will begin soon in India if any of the vaccines gets the approval.
  • So, to be prepared in hand the government has rightly decided to undertake a dry run for vaccine administration. The dry run is expected to be initiated this week in four States of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat, and Punjab.

Why the Dry run is essential?

  • Though, India has been vaccinating millions of young children with a variety of vaccines each year the aspects of the COVID-19 vaccination Programme are new.
  • Firstly, this is the first time a vaccine to be administered outside the universal immunisation Programme and specifically for adults belonging to specific groups.
  • Second, there is a need for administering two doses of the vaccine a few weeks apart and enrolling the recipients which is different compared to our running vaccination drives.
  • Third, it will allow the administrators to check the usage of the Co-WIN IT platform for management of the entire vaccination process including data entry, allocation of date and time and a drill of session sites with test beneficiaries.
  • Fourth, it will also help to test the linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms.

What are the measures that needs to be ensured during Dry run exercise?

  • The first task is to register the recipients of vaccine identified from the from the high-risk groups on the Co-WIN platform to avoid inclusion and exclusion errors.
  • When more than one vaccine becomes available, it is essential to ensure that people receive the same vaccine twice and the exercise should confirm that the Co-WIN platform is able to generate the date and time when people can receive the second dose.
  • As no COVID-19 vaccine has undergone long-term follow-up for safety during the trial it is very essential to Check and report on all adverse events after the vaccination.
  • Regarding storage of vaccines, the existing facilities of the universal immunisation Programme in most districts can be used for storing the vaccines since the vaccines that are at an advanced stage of testing in India do not require ultra-low temperature for delivery and storage.
  • Also, the exercise should look at creating additional storage capacity at these facilities to store millions of COVID-19 vaccines as the plan is to vaccinate 300 million people in the four high-risk groups for which it requires 600 million doses. 
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