India plans to start inoculating its citizens by the start of next year, the Indian drug regulator, CDSCO is looking at the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine, AstraZeneca to grant it emergency authorization for use in the country within this week and to the Serum Institute that is manufacturing the shots here. SII, which is manufacturing and testing the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine in India, last week had submitted additional data to the national drugs regulator that it had sought for its EUA application.

The SII has already manufactured 40 million doses of the vaccine, under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license from the DCGI. Apart from giving its approval for emergency use to the Covid vaccine, the Centre is also focused on carrying out the administration in a quick and effective way, which is why a dry run will take place over December 28 and 29. The two-day dry run for coronavirus vaccine program starts today in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat and Assam.

The Indian government has planned this dry run to test and analyze the effectiveness of its laid-out plan for the coronavirus vaccination drive. Two districts in each of these four states across India’s four zones will assess their preparedness in five different types of medical settings – district hospitals, Community and Public Healthcare Centres, urban and rural areas, and private facilities.

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The Union Health Ministry said that the dummy drive will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, which is the online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries as well as reporting and evening meeting.

The aim of this dry run is to focus on a few important things. Firstly, the management of any possible adverse events following immunization, cold storage, transportation arrangements and crowd management at session sites with proper physical distance. Second, it will check the usage of Co-WIN in field environment, linkages between planning, implementation and reporting mechanisms, identify challenges and guide the way forward prior to the actual implementation, including improvements that may be required in the envisioned process.

Lastly, the authorities will have to follow infection control practices at the various sites to further prevent coronavirus transmission.

A detailed checklist as prepared by the Health Ministry, has been shared with the four states conducting the dry run. After the dry run, a detailed report will be prepared and reviewed by the State Task Force, which will be submitted to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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