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Are we ready? PM at Serum Institute of India recently

Vaccine Ahoy! CO-WIN platform for the rollout on war footing

30,00,00,000 people to get the jab first

"When such a huge vaccination drive is taken up, it becomes necessary to have institutional mechanisms at the level of States, Districts and Blocks that will inspect and supervise the entire process,” said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan

NEW DELHI, Dec 8 (BNC Network) - The Government has created a new digital platform called CO-WIN for delivering COVID 19 Vaccination.

“This user friendly mobile app for recording vaccine data is working as a beneficiary management platform having various modules,” said Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, briefing the media today.

In the process of forming database of Healthcare Workers, which is in an advanced stage across all States and UTs, data is presently being uploaded on the Co-WIN platform.

The PM has himself personally interacted with and encouraged all vaccine manufacturers and scientists, he added. Five of them, namely Covishield manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Covaxin manufactured by Bharat Biotech, ZyCoV-D manufactured by Zydus Cadila, Sputnik V which is being manufactured by Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and NVX-CoV2373 which is another vaccine by SII are in various stages of Clinical Trial. Out of these, Covishield and Covaxin have also applied for Emergency Use Authorization.

This apart, a Recombinant Protein Antigen based vaccine by Biological E Ltd, mRNA based HGCO 19 vaccine by Genova, Pune; and an Inactivated rabies vector platform vaccine by Bharat Biotech are in various stages of pre-clinical trial. Vaccine requires 2-3 doses in intervals of 3 to 4 weeks, further informed the Health Secretary. He, however, also cautioned that precautions must be undertaken even after vaccination.

"When such a huge vaccination drive is taken up, it becomes necessary to have institutional mechanisms at the level of States, Districts and Blocks that will inspect and supervise the entire process,” he said on the steps taken by the Union Government for rolling out COVID-19 vaccine. Detailing the preparatory activities for roll-out of COVID-19 vaccine being carried by Central Government in collaboration with States and UTs, he said ine-listing of Prioritized Population Groups for COVID 19 Vaccination. Every single Indian who needs to be vaccinated will be vaccinated is being done. Prioritized Population Groups include about one crore Healthcare Workers in both Government and Private Healthcare facilities, About two crore Frontline Workers (including personnel from state and central police department, armed forces, home guard, civil defence organizations, disaster management volunteers and municipal workers) and also about 27 crore people in the Prioritized Age Group, which includes those aged above 50 years & those with co-morbidities.

Cold Chain Infrastructure: Current cold chain system, consisting of 85,634 equipment for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country, is capable of storing additional quantity of Covid-19 vaccine required for the first 3 Crore, i.e., Health Care Workers and Front Line Workers. The Health Ministry in consultation with States/UTs has assessed the additional requirement for Cold Chain storage (Walk in Coolers, Walk in Freezers, Deep Freezers, Ice lined refrigerators etc.). Additional supplies would be available to States/UTs beginning December 10, 2020.

Around 2.39 lakh vaccinators (Auxiliary nurse midwives) across India provide vaccination under Universal Immunization Programmes(UIP). So as not to disturb the ongoing UIPs, only 1.54 lakh ANMs will be used for COVID Vaccination. Additional vaccinators for the purpose are being arranged in collaboration with States/UTs.

This apart, there has to be a communication strategy on vaccine safety, effectiveness etc. A transparent, effective & sustained communication for COVID vaccination is crucial for educating people and explaining the implementation plan to them. It also will prepare them to accept some adverse effects as happens with all vaccines as well as address doubts and address challenges like disinformation campaigns, rumours and anti-vaccine lobby.

Speaking about the Centre's initiatives,  Bhushan mentioned the Vaccine Task Force, which was constituted by the Union Government on April 14, 2020, and is co-chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India and Member (Health), NITI Aayog. With technical experts and representatives of relevant ministries as its members, it provides guidance for focused research on Corona vaccines and other related Science and Technology Issues. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID- 19 (NEGVAC) has also been formed in last August to aid and provide guidance on i) prioritization of population groups, ii) procurement and inventory management, iii) vaccine selection, and iv) vaccine delivery and tracking mechanism. The NEGVAC is chaired by Dr. V.K.Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog and co-chaired by the Health Secretary.

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