Launched: Largest vaccination drive in history

PM Modi gets emotional as India starts administering vaccines against Covid-19

GN Bureau | January 16, 2021


#Covid-19   #Novel Coronavirus   #healthcare   #vaccine   #Narendra Modi  


India on Saturday began the massive vaccination drive against Covid-19, as prime minister Narendra Modi paid tributes the ‘corona warriors’.

“Such a vaccination drive at such a massive scale was never conducted in history. There are over 100 countries having less than 3 crore population and India is administering vaccination to 3 crore people in the first phase itself. In the second phase, we’ve to take this number to 30 crores,” Modi said as he flagged off the first phase of the pan-India rollout of Covid-19 vaccination drive at 10.30 am via video conferencing.

India has been among the top three nations worst-affected by the pandemic, and the vaccine was long awaited here. Modi in his address got emotional and said, “Today when we take a look at the last year, we realise that we have learnt a lot as a person, a family and as a nation.

“Amid the crisis and the atmosphere of despair, someone was transmitting hope by putting his life on the line to save us,” he said, praising scientists and healthcare workers for their role in India’s response to the crisis.

Modi also cautioned people not to ignore the safety protocol including maintaining social distancing and wearing masks now that vaccination is on.

On Friday, union health minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan reviewed preparations for the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive. He visited the Dedicated COVID Control Room which has been set up at the Nirman Bhawan premises of the ministry of health & family welfare.

The vaccination programme will cover the entire length and breadth of the country, with a total of 3,006 session sites across all states and UTs which will be connected virtually throughout the exercise. Around 100 beneficiaries are being vaccinated on Saturday at each of the session sites. The vaccination drive has been planned in a phased manner, identifying priority groups. Health care workers, both in government and private sectors including ICDS (Integrated Child Development Services) workers, will receive the vaccine during this phase.

During his visit to the Covid Control Room, Dr. Harsh Vardhan scrutinised each aspect of the working of CoWIN, an online digital platform developed by the health ministry, which will be used to drive the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the country. It will facilitate real time information of vaccine stocks, storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries for the vaccine. This digital platform will assist programme managers across national, state, and district levels while conducting vaccination sessions. It will help them track beneficiary coverage, beneficiary dropouts, sessions planned as compared to sessions held and vaccine utilisation.

The platform enables national and state administrators to view and sort data of beneficiaries as per their gender, age and co-morbidity. They can also view the metadata of vaccinations and Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) reported from constituent districts across states and UTs. District administrators can additionally create session sites at any location by entering the pin-code, followed by specifying the locality or villages and subsequently assigning a vaccinator. Dr. Harsh Vardhan suggested that the software modifications and lessons learnt while using the highly advanced CoWIN platform be incorporated into India’s Universal Immunisation Programme.

The minister also reviewed the Beneficiary Registration Page for all non-prioritised groups on CoWIN. He suggested pre-populating the software with beneficiaries by seeding it with electoral database, in addition to other documents that are authorised for registration.

The dedicated Control Room has been involved in the massive exercise of monitoring district-wise Covid-19 data from across the country as well as in depth analysis of the data to interpret and evaluate the status of the pandemic. For the last several months, through this dedicated control room, the government has been closely monitoring parameters such as case fatality rates, infection rates, death rates and other parameters based on which containment strategies have been continuously evolved. The Control Room has also been helping to track & record best strategies being adopted by different countries as a part of their response system and translating them into key learnings for India.

The minister also reviewed the working of the ‘Communications Control Room’ which has been closely monitoring the disinformation campaigns and rumour mongering in relation to administering of Covid-19 vaccines. He advised the administrative machinery to go all out to counter the misinformation campaign being spread by vested interests.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan said India’s exercise to vaccinate its population against Covid-19 shall be the largest immunization drive of the world. He reiterated that both the indigenously manufactured vaccines, COVISHIELD & COVAXIN, have proven safety and immunogenicity records and are the most important tools to contain the pandemic.

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