The Assam government has confirmed that the state is gearing up to start out the vaccination drive with 1.5 lakh entrance line healthcare, ASHA and anganwadi staff as the primary beneficiaries.
Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI)'s approval for the emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for immunisation towards Covid-19 has "bolstered hopes for a Covid-free India".
"We can take the vaccines now. I hope the dry runs are complete and anytime we will receive the coronavirus vaccines," Himanta advised the media on Sunday.
As stated by Union health minister Harsh Vardhan, Himanta said healthcare workers and frontline staff engaged in hospitals will receive the first shots of the vaccine, while police and teachers will be the next in line. "In the third phase, the vulnerable section with co-morbidities will get the vaccine," the minister said.
In Assam, the dry run was performed in Nalbari, Sonitpur and Kamrup (Metropolitan) districts, which, the well being officers mentioned, was a success.
Meanwhile, in Guwahati the "dry run" was conducted from 9 am onwards in three hospitals of the city— Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH), Khanapara State Dispensary and Sonapur District Hospital.
National Health Mission (NHM) Mission Director Dr Lakshmanan supervised the exercise in GMCH and Khanapara State Dispensary. Principal-cum-chief Superintendent of GMCH Dr Achyut Kumar Baishya and Kamrup Metro ADC (Health) Sharmistha Bora were present at the GMCH.
The objective of the "dry run" for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, test the linkages between planning and implementation and identify the challenges as well guide the way forward prior to its actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to the programme managers at various levels.
An important focus of the "dry run" is on management of any possible adverse events following immunization (AEFI).
To strengthen the human resource for the vaccine introduction and roll-out, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators, including medical officers, vaccinators cold chain handlers, ASHA coordinators and all others involved in the implementation process at different levels.