COVID-19: Vardhan asks states to stop misinformation campaigns ahead of second nation-wide dry run

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Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan (File Photo)
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan (File Photo)

New Delhi [India] January 7 (ANI): Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Thursday interacted with the Ministers and Principal Secretaries/Additional Chief Secretaries of the States/UTs to review the preparedness for the nationwide mock drill on the COVID-19 vaccination scheduled for Friday.

The second nationwide mock drill on the COVID-19 vaccination will be held at three-session sites of 736 districts across 33 States/UTs.

The objective of the mock drill on vaccination is to simulate the actual vaccine administration event, adding that the entire planning of the vaccination drive including beneficiary registration, microplanning and vaccination at the planned session site, will be tested under the leadership of District Collector/District Magistrate.

During the meeting, Vardhan asked the state authorities to be prepared and stop misinformation campaign.

Seeking their personal indulgence, leadership and keen oversight for tomorrow's national dry run, he requested the Health Ministers of the states to be vigilant against rumours and disinformation campaigns regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.

He urged the state health authorities to work with the multiple stakeholders and the youth to spread the right information and dispel rumours and mistruths being spread about the COVID-19.

The Health Minister highlighted the unique digital platform, Co-WIN, repurposed from the e-VIN platform that will provide real-time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Minister reassured all his State counterparts that the country's cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last-mile delivery and that adequate supplies of syringes and other logistics have also been provided for. "India has unparalleled experience in dealing with immunisation and runs one of the largest universal immunisation programs in the world which has been applauded by the world for its robustness".

He referred to India's several successful immunisation drives with respect to Polio, Rubella and Measles and also 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. "The rich experience of the country from the UIP and the anti-polio campaign is being used to strengthen the processes of COVID19 vaccination", he stated.

Following this, he reminded his state counterparts to also ensure that the National Immunisation Day (NID) scheduled on January 17, 2021, is also given due importance.

He requested the State/UT health ministers to ensure that non-COVID essential services are not adversely impacted. "It is with the collaborative efforts of the States/UTs and multiple partners that India and 11 other countries of the South East Asia region of WHO has been declared polio-free. It should be our endeavour to sustain India's Polio-free status", he stated.

Vardhan informed that to strengthen the capacity of our human resource for COVID-19 vaccine introduction and roll-out, detailed training modules have been developed for different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators.

He said the entire operational planning and IT platform has been field-tested on several occasions before the second national dry run of tomorrow.

The earlier national mock drill of January 2 helped to iron out any glitches in the final execution and further refinement of the operational procedures. The feedback from most of the States/UTs was satisfactory conduct of the dry run, the Health Ministry said. (ANI)