COVID Vaccine Coming Soon: Health Minister, as 2nd Dry Run Starts

A second dry run for the COVID vaccine is underway in more than 700 districts of all states and union territories.

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Following a visit to a Chennai hospital to review arrangements for the second COVID-19 vaccine dry run, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, on Friday, 8 January, said: “In the next few days, in the near future, we should be able to give these vaccines to our countrymen.”

Dr Vardhan, according to ANI, also visited the Government Omandurar Medical College Hospital in Chennai on Friday.

Following this, the Union Health Minister met Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat.

Further, ANI quoted Dr Vardhan as saying: “Tamil Nadu government and its health department deserves our highest appreciation for good work that they have been doing and are pursuing.”

He also reportedly inspected cold storage for COVID vaccine in Chennai during his visit.

A second dry run for the COVID-19 vaccine is underway in more than 700 districts of all states and union territories.

Speaking after his visit to Chennai’s Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, the Union Health Minister, according to the Hindustan Times (HT), said:

“In a short period of time, India has done well by developing vaccines. In the next few days, in the near future, we should be able to give these vaccines to our countrymen. It will be given to our healthcare professionals followed by frontline workers.”   

Further, Dr Vardhan, reportedly said: “We’ve ensured that every detail is conveyed to the people from the national level to the grassroots level. Lakhs of healthcare workers have been trained and the process continues.”

According to HT, Tamil Nadu Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar was also present on the occasion of the Union health minister’s visit.

Meanwhile, Dr Rajesh Dere, who is in-charge of the vaccination centre at BKC Jumbo – a dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Mumbai – told ANI:

“15 vaccination units have been set up here. Twenty-five healthcare workers selected for today’s dry-run for vaccine administration. A counsellor appointed to counsel those fearing vaccination.”

According to ANI, Nodal Officer, Mohali, where the second dry run is also underway, has said: "We will be conducting vaccine dry run with 25 volunteers as per the orders given by administration.”

Health Minister Reaches out to NGOs

Dr Harsh Vardhan also reportedly reached out to non-government organisations (NGO) for assistance during the vaccination programme, and said:

“Request the NGOs working in the field of health to help in the smooth conduct of the Covid-19 vaccination programme and mobilisation of beneficiaries in the best possible manner.”

Further, according to HT, Dr Vardhan informed that a a three-day national immunisation drive for polio will start on 17 January.

“This is essential to maintain the overall immunity level of our country, particularly pertaining to polio,” he said.

Dry Runs Done So Far

Friday’s dry run is to test preparedness and to plug loopholes, if any.

The Union health minister on Thursday, 7 January, reportedly said: “The feedback on the dry run of COVID-19 vaccine in four states was reviewed. We have made improvements based on the feedback. Tomorrow a dry run will be conducted in 33 states and union territories.”

The only three states, according to HT, who will not participate in the drill is Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh, as they have already conducted this exercise in their districts.

Around 1.7 lakh vaccinators and 3 lakh vaccination team members have been trained on protocol at the mock inoculation site. The states have been equipped with the necessary cold chain infrastructure it would need to carry out the vaccination, including freezers and sufficient supply of syringes and other logistics, according to a press release by the Centre.

"The COVID-19 vaccines,  'Covishield' and 'Covaxin', are on the verge of being available in the country. Our efforts are to ensure seamless last mile delivery of the vaccine," Vardhan was quoted as saying by news agency ANI during a meeting with health ministers of states and union territories, on Thursday.

The health minister, according to ANI, also said:

“Maharashtra, Kerala and Chhattisgarh have seen a sudden spike in coronavirus cases recently. This gives us a warning that we shouldn’t forget precautions and continue our fight against COVID-19.”    

(With inputs from Hindustan Times and ANI.)

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