State conducts dry run as vaccine dreams inch towards reality

SHILLONG, Jan 2: The Meghalaya government on Saturday conducted a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination at five health facilities in the state. The dry run was carried out in Ganesh Das MCH Hospital, NEIGRIHMS, Rynjah State Dispensary, Nazareth Hospital and Holy Cross Hospital in West Garo Hills.
A total of 129 persons were mobilised for the dry run whilst healthcare workers were given a step-by-step overview of the entire process.
Medical officer at Ganesh Das MCH Hospital, B Basaiawmoit, said that there are various steps for the vaccination process.
Basaiawmoit said the first step is to cross-check the details of a particular beneficiary to the available registered list of beneficiaries following which he or she will be taken to the vaccination room where an officer will follow the standard operating procedures for vaccination. The beneficiary, Basaiawmoit said, will be authenticated by an officer on the CoWIN App (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network).
She informed that after the beneficiary is inoculated, the CoWIN App will be updated while the beneficiary will be kept under observation for the next 30 minutes.
“Here, the beneficiaries will also be given IEC materials on the vaccine and will be educated on the importance of COVID-19-appropriate behavior such as maintaining physical distance, wearing a mask and washing hands, which are to be reinforced even after vaccination. If there is a case of AEFI, the details of beneficiary will be filled in a form, which will automatically be updated on SafeVac,” she said.
If there are no symptoms, the beneficiary will be allowed to leave but will have to return for the second dose of the vaccine after 28 days or a period as prescribed by the health officials based on the type of vaccine approved by the government, she added.
Stating that the beneficiary can also reach out to ASHA workers or the medical officer, Basaiawmoit said, “Every vaccinated person will receive a digital certificate which will be available on the CoWIN App.
Automated SMSes will also be sent to beneficiaries to remind them of their next vaccination with the details of allotted time and place”.
Meanwhile, Director, NEIGRIHMS, P Bhattacharya, is of the opinion that whenever a complicated programme like vaccination is to be carried out involving a lot of people, a dry run is imperative.
He said that it is important that that all the points are available and the institutions know what they are dealing with. “This requires mobilisation of staff, allocations of space and putting specific equipment in place. Confusion can take place if these are not there and the vaccines arrive while people wait in a queue. It is very crucial to have a dry run,” he said.
Rynjah state dispensary in-charge, Dr Brenda Syiem, said the mock drill was successful and hoped that the actual vaccination process will be hassle-free.
“Beneficiaries of the dry run are mostly our staffers and ASHA workers. They have registered their names through an app. The dispensary covers around 70,000 people, and we hope that the actual vaccination will go smoothly,” she said.
The dry run was part of a nationwide initiative to test the preparedness of the authorities before launching of the actual vaccination programme.
The Centre had stated that the activity was set to be conducted by all state and union territory administrations on Saturday to test the linkages between planning and implementation and identify challenges. Earlier, the dry run for vaccination was conducted in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Assam and Gujarat on December 28 and 29. (With inputs from PTI)

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