Mass COVID-19 vaccination drive guidelines issued by the Centre in India.

COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination on a real-time basis.

On Monday, December 14th, 2020, the Centre issued detailed guidelines for India’s mass vaccination drive. During the first phase, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry is planning to vaccinate around 30 crore people.

As per the guidelines issued, 100-200 people will be injected in each session per day. They would be further monitored for 30 minutes after administering the shots. It also made a clear statement that COVID-19 vaccine would be first offered to the frontline workers and healthcare workers. Along with them, people above the age of 50, followed by the people below the age of 50 years with associated co-morbidities based on the evolving pandemic situation. Dosing for the population will depend based on the disease epidemiology and the availability of the vaccine.

The states have been asked to implement an integrated 360-degree comprehensive advocacy communication and social mobilisation strategy. This is to address the challenges surrounding vaccine rollout progress and benefits.

Pfizer, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech have applied for market authorization for their vaccines. The vaccination drive would start right after the government approves emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine.

The Health Ministry also introduced COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination on a real-time basis.

CoWIN is a digital platform for real-time monitoring of the COVID-19 vaccine delivery. This features a mobile application that enables users to self-register to get vaccinated. On a larger picture, CoWIN is developed for real-time monitoring of the vaccine delivery, keeping a record and enabling people to get them registered for vaccination.

“Co-WIN digital platform includes a free downloadable mobile application which can help record vaccine data. One can register themselves on it if they want the vaccine. There are five modules in Co-WIN app — administrator module, registration module, vaccination module, beneficiary acknowledgement module and report module,” Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.

Here’s how the entire vaccination process will be monitored with CoWIN App:

  • The administrator module is for the administrators who will be conducting these vaccination sessions.
  • Through these modules, they can create sessions and the respective vaccinators and managers will be notified.
  • The registration module is for people to get registered for vaccination. It will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities or by surveyors.
  • The vaccination module will verify beneficiary details and update vaccination status while the beneficiary acknowledgement module will send SMS to beneficiaries and also generate QR-based certificates after one gets vaccinated.
  • The report module will prepare reports of how many vaccine sessions have been conducted, how many people have attended those, how many people have dropped out, etc.
  • The mobile application will also send real-time data of the temperature of the cold-storage facilities to the main server.
  • Data on frontline healthcare workers, who would get the anti-coronavirus vaccine on a priority basis, have been collected from government and private health facilities and is being fed into CoWIN. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has recommended that COVID-19 vaccine needs to be provided on priority to government and private sector healthcare workers, which is around one crore.

The document that issued the guidelines for the vaccine incubation stated the blueprint of the drive:

  • Twelve photo-identity documents, including Voter ID, Aadhar card, driving license, passport and pension document, will be required for self-registration on the Co-WIN website
  • The COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system — a digitalized platform — will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis.
  • At the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated following the prioritization. There will be no provision for on-the-spot registrations.
  • The states have been asked to allocate the vaccine from one manufacturer to a district to avoid mixing of different COVID-19 vaccines in the field.
  • Vaccines and diluents should be kept inside the vaccine carrier with the lid closed until a beneficiary comes to the centre for vaccination.
  • All measure will be taken to avoid exposing the vaccine carrier, vaccine vials or ice packs to direct sunlight.
  • The vaccination team will consist of five members, it said. Each session should be planned for 100 beneficiaries per day.
  • If the session site has adequate logistics and space available for waiting room and observation room along with arrangement for crowd management, one more vaccinator officer can be added to create a session for 200 beneficiaries, the guidelines stated.

“There may not be vaccine vial monitors (VVM) and Date of Expiry on the label of COVID-19 vaccine, this should not discourage vaccinators from using the vaccine. At the end of the session, the vaccine carrier with all ice packs and unopened vaccine vials should be sent back to the distributing cold chain point,” the guidelines said.

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