Ahead of the actual vaccination drive, the Union health ministry on Saturday conducted a nationwide dry run of the vaccination drive.

The mock drill was conducted at 285 session sites to test the end-to-end planned operations and the mechanism that has been set up to ensure smooth conduct of the COVID19 vaccination that is expected to begin soon.

This dry run of the vaccination drive, spread across 125 districts, is covering all states/UTs having adequate representation of urban and rural districts along with hard-to-reach areas.

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Saturday visited two mock vaccination sites in Delhi to review the dry run drill for administering the COVID19 vaccine.

He first visited the GTB Hospital in Shahdara and later an Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Daryaganj.

Expressing his satisfaction at the preparations at the GTB Hospital, Dr Vardhan said, “The entire exercise of the vaccination process is being systematically taken forward, including training of personnel for administering the vaccine.”

“Detailed guidelines have been issued to multiple stakeholders after extensive deliberations, paying attention to each and every minute aspect,” he added.

The Union minister appreciated the tireless efforts being made by multiple stakeholders including the central and state government officials who have worked proactively in the last few months to ensure the success of this humongous operation.

Dr Vardhan said the digital platform, Co-WIN, repurposed from the e-VIN platform is the real game changer, and will provide real time information of vaccine stocks, their storage temperature and individualized tracking of beneficiaries of the COVID19 vaccine.

“This unique platform will assist the program managers across all levels through automated session allocation for pre-registered beneficiaries, their verification and for generating a digital certificate upon successful completion of the vaccine schedule,” the Union health ministry said in a statement.

More than 75 lakh beneficiaries have been registered on Co-WIN platform till date, he said.

Speaking on the preparedness for ensuring that the vaccine reaches even the remotest corner of the country, Dr Vardhan said the country’s cold chain infrastructure has been sufficiently upgraded to ensure last-mile delivery.

Dr Vardhan warned the citizens against falling prey to rumours and disinformation campaigns regarding the safety and efficacy of the COVID19 vaccine.

He rubbished the rumours being propagated on social media which are raising doubts in the mind of the public regarding the vaccine side-effects.

The Union minister urged the media to exercise caution and to behave responsibly and check all facts before publishing or broadcasting any reports.

Dispelling doubts regarding the country’s capability to undertake such a massive vaccination drive, Dr Vardhan described how India has unparalleled experience in dealing with immunization and runs one of the largest immunization programs in the world.

He noted that India has been applauded by the world for its robust Universal Immunization Programs. He said India has conducted several successful immunization drives with respect to Polio, Rubella and Measles.

Dr Vardhan narrated his personal experience from the early nineties of having galvanized efforts of millions of Indians which eventually led to the eradication of Polio from the country.

“It is as a result of our steadfastness and dedication, that India was declared polio-free in 2014. Our rich learning from the earlier immunisation drives including the Polio vaccination campaign is being used to guide our present countrywide COVID19 vaccination campaign,” he stated.

At the UPHC in Daryaganj, Dr Vardhan reiterated his earlier assurance regarding the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of the COVID19 vaccine.

He reiterated that the government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all citizens.

Replying to a question he said: “I have ample personal experience from the Polio Eradication campaign of 1994 about how the people of the country placed their trust in the science of the vaccine rather than the falsehoods and canards being spread by some rumour-mongers.”

The Minister said the entire operational planning and IT platform has been field-tested in four states on December 28-29, 2020 and on the basis of feedback received, certain enhancements have been made in the system.

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