Maha: COVID-19 vaccine dry run carried out in four districts

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Mumbai, Jan 2 (PTI) A dry run to assess the readiness of the mechanism laid out for the COVID-19 immunisation drive, which is expected to begin soon, was conducted on Saturday in four districts of Maharashtra.

The exercise was conducted at identified health centres in Nagpur, Jalna, Pune and Nandurbar districts.

Specific teams were formed for various tasks by the district administrations and activities like uploading of dummy beneficiary data, session site creation, vaccine allocation, communicating vaccination details to beneficiaries and vaccinators, and beneficiary mobilisation etc are being carried out.

Speaking to reporters in his home district Jalna, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state is prepared to undertake actual COVID-19 vaccine inoculation exercise in the coming days.

'The dry run is being conducted in select cities, towns and villages to check the preparedness of system for actual vaccination exercise,' he said.

Tope said the selection of beneficiaries for the first phase of actual mass vaccination will be modelled on the the Election Commission's polling procedure.

'The only exception will be that the person who gets an SMS can only come to receive the (COVID-19 vaccine, which is expected shortly) shot.

'Like a polling booth, a person has to show an identity card before entering a health centre. After verification, the vaccine will be administered, and the person who received the shot will be shifted to adjacent rest room for observation (for any adverse reaction),' the state health minister said.

He said separate rooms will be earmarked for men and women at health centres.

'The person who is administered COVID-19 vaccine will be monitored by doctors or nurses in these rooms, and will be provided medical support in case he or she feels uneasy due to anxiety or any other adverse reaction. Maharashtra is now prepared to carry out (actual) vaccination drive for masses,' Tope added.

On Friday, the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended granting permission for restricted emergency use of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield, being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, paving the way for the roll-out of the first COVID-19 shot in the country in the next few days. PTI ND NSK NSK