The Indian Central Government has asked the states to prepare for national-level COVID-19 vaccination by beginning the process of identifying those most in need as well as getting the necessary infrastructure and logistics ready for distribution.
States are now preparing lists with the government reportedly asking them to prioritize the groups that are to be vaccinated first. The identification will be done with the aim to protect the most vulnerable while also reducing mortality. This means that healthcare workers and elderly/at-risk patients are likely to be prioritized by the states for a COVID-19 vaccine.
Each state administration has been further asked to implement a steering group which will be headed by the Chief Secretary while smaller district-level groups are to be chaired by the District Magistrates.
Officials are expressing concern over the logistics given that some vaccines require a cold storage facility that could potentially make accessibility in remote corners of the country a difficult task. Further, the central government has also asked states to make sure necessary items like syringes and/or vials are available in the required quantities.
Government officials have also prepared digital content to educate and train those administering the vaccines on patients. Details are also provided on how to report any negative reaction one may face after taking the vaccine.
The government is launching a new digital platform known as eVIN, short for Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network, which will track vaccine procurement and also provide alerts when vaccine stocks are running out.
eVIN will reportedly be included with a COVID-19 module known as CoVIN which will allow officials to keep track of who was vaccinated and provide information on their next dosage including the date and location.
Additionally, the government’s CoVIN system will reportedly create digital certificates upon each vaccination which will then serve as proof of vaccination for the patient/user. This certificate can be saved on the vaccinated user’s smartphone or on a government-approved cloud storage facility like DigiLocker.
Currently, a handful of vaccines are in human clinical trials in India, including one made by the University of Oxford’s Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca. This vaccine will be mass-produced for India and global markets by Pune’s Serum Institute of India (SII).
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