Operational Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recently published the COVID-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines. The Ministry had detailed its plan to carry out the administration of COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Key Highlights

  • In Phase I of the COVID-19 Vaccination drive, the Government of India is to vaccinate thirty crore people. This includes health care workers, people under the age of fifty (with comorbidities) and people above the age of fifty years of age.
  • Most of the vaccines will require two doses. They are scheduled to be administered between time intervals of two, three and four weeks apart.
  • The vaccines are to be administered through intramuscular route.
  • All the twenty-three ministries are to handle the COVID-19 vaccine administration process.

About the Guidelines

The Government of India had constituted the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC). The COVID-19 vaccine introduction in the country is completely guided by the NEGVAC.

Training of Staff

  • The health functionaries, enumerators for beneficiary listing, social mobilisers for the mobilisation activities, communication training to the workers involved in the process are to be provided with prior training.
  • Training of the trainers are to be conducted on virtual platforms.
  • After the training is imparted to the trainers, the training is to be extended to district and sub district level.
  • The covid-19 vaccine is to be introduced only after the completion of all the training at district, block and planning unit level.
  • Effort is to be made to make sure everyone in the country has timely access to information about the covid-19 vaccine.

Prioritisation of covid-19 vaccine

  • The vaccine is to be offered first to the health care workers, persons above 50 years of age and Frontline workers.
  • The next focus is to be on people younger than 50 years of age and with associated comorbidities.
  • The remaining population is to receive the vaccine based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability.

 Digital platform

  • The COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) is to be used to track the unlisted beneficiaries for vaccination.
  • Only pre-registered beneficiaries are to be vaccinated at the vaccination site.

 Vaccination sessions

  • One session is to accommodate only hundred beneficiaries.
  • The states and union territories can identify specific days for vaccination.
  • The conduction of vaccination patients is very much similar to the conduction of election.

Vaccination team

The vaccination team will consist of 5 members. The vaccination officer shall be doctors, pharmacist, staff nurse, or any one legally authorised to give injection. The vaccination officer 1 shall be a person who checks the registration status of the beneficiary. This will be a person from police, civil defence, NSS, NCC, home guard. The vaccination officer 2 will be the person who authenticates the identification documents. The vaccination officer 3 and 4 are the support staff who are responsible for crowd management.

Role of AEFI surveillance system

The Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance system is to be utilised to monitor adverse events during the administration of the vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Storage

Around 29,000 cold chain points, 70 walk-in freezers, 240 walk-in coolers, 41,000 deep freezers, 45,000 ice-line refrigerators, 300 solar refrigerators are to be used for COVID-19 vaccine storage.

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