New Delhi: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan today visited two mock vaccination sites in Delhi to review the dry run drill for administering the COVID19 vaccine.
He first visited the GTB Hospital in Shahdara and later an Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Daryaganj.
Ahead of the actual vaccination drive, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare today conducted a nationwide mock drill at 285 session sites to test the end-to-end planned operations and the mechanism that has been set up to ensure smooth conduct of the COVID19 vaccination that is expected to begin soon.
This dry run of the vaccination drive spread across 125 districts is covering all States/UTs having adequate representation of urban and rural districts along with hard-to-reach areas.
Expressing his satisfaction at the preparations at the GTB Hospital, Dr Harsh Vardhan said, “The entire exercise of the vaccination process is being systematically taken forward, including training of personnel for administering the vaccine. Detailed guidelines have been issued to multiple stakeholders after extensive deliberations, paying attention to each and every minute aspect.”
The Union Minister appreciated the tireless efforts being made by multiple stakeholders including the central and state government officials who have worked proactively in the last few months to ensure the success of this humongous operation.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the digital platform, Co-WIN, repurposed from the e-VIN platform is the real game changer, and will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine. This unique platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule. More than 75 lakh beneficiaries have been registered on Co-WIN platform till date, he said.
Speaking on the preparedness for ensuring that the vaccine reaches even the remotest corner of the country, Dr Vardhan said that the country’s cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last mile delivery. Adequate supplies of syringes and other logistics have also been provided for.
Dr Harsh Vardhan warned the citizens against falling prey to rumours and disinformation campaigns regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID19 vaccine. He rubbished the rumours being propagated on social media which are raising doubts in the mind of the public regarding the vaccine side-effects. He urged the media to exercise caution and to behave responsibly and check all facts before publishing or broadcasting any reports.
Dispelling doubts regarding the country’s capability to undertake such a massive vaccination drive, Dr Harsh Vardhan described how India has unparalleled experience in dealing with immunization and runs one of the largest immunization programs in the world. He noted that India has been applauded by the world for its robust Universal Immunization Programs. He said India has conducted several successful immunization drives with respect to Polio, Rubella and Measles. He narrated his personal experience from the early nineties of having galvanized efforts of millions of Indians which eventually led to the eradication of Polio from the country.
“It is as a result of our steadfastness and dedication, that India was declared polio-free in 2014. Our rich learning from the earlier immunisation drives including the Polio vaccination campaign is being used to guide our present countrywide COVID19 vaccination campaign”, he stated.
At the UPHC in Daryaganj, Dr Harsh Vardhan reiterated his earlier assurance regarding the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the COVID19 vaccine. He reiterated that the Government led by Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens. Replying to a question he stated that “I have ample personal experience from the Polio Eradication campaign of 1994 about how the people of the country placed their trust in the science of the vaccine rather than the falsehoods and canards being spread by some rumour-mongers”.
The Minister said that the entire operational planning and IT platform has been field tested in four states on 28th & 29th December 2020; and on the basis of feedback received, certain enhancements have been made in the system. All the State & District officials have been thoroughly trained for conducting this dry-run that is aimed at testing the laid-out mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out. This dry run will end with review meetings at district and state level to discuss the issues and challenges encountered during the exercise. States/UTs have been requested to share the feedback with MoHFW which will be analyzed for ironing out any glitches in the final execution and further refinement of the operational procedures.
Dr Harsh Vardhan also emphasized that India’s proactive and pre-emptive steps have been commended across the world. He noted that under the dynamic leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India has exhibited an iron-strong political will in adopting an approach encompassing efficient surveillance and testing, leading to the highest recovery and among the lowest fatality rates in the world.