Chandigarh, Dec 29 (IANS) A dry run to ensure an error-free vaccination drive against coronavirus -- the largest ever mass immunisation exercise to vaccinate about 1.25 lakh healthcare workers in the first phase -- was held in two districts of Punjab for the second, and the last, day on Tuesday.
"Today, a list of vaccine beneficiaries was provided to the teams to remove gaps, if any, before the commencement of the actual vaccination drive," a senior health official, who was part of the two-day dry run, told IANS.
The beneficiaries, he said, physically arrived for the vaccination and were verified through government of India's portal. They followed the given procedures and waited for 30 minutes to get themselves vaccinated.
He said that arrangement for biomedical waste management has also been made. "The 104 helpline was tested by making a phone call and sending SMSes to all beneficiaries," he said.
In line with the central government's guidelines, data of about 1.25 lakh healthcare workers -- both government and private -- has been compiled by the Punjab government for the first phase of vaccination.
The dummy run of the vaccination drive in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, and Punjab comes on the second day as the daily new coronavirus cases in India has touched a new low at below 16,500.
In Punjab, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar witnessed the herculean dry run exercise.
In Ludhiana, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Civil Hospital in Ludhiana, and Civil Hospitals in Payal, Jagraon, Khanna, Riakot and Macchiwara subdivisions were selected for the exercise.
A total of 175 health workers were part of the dry run in Ludhiana, while 125 health workers in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar participated.
State's nodal officer Rajesh Bhaskar said that 4,000 immunisation teams have been set up in the state and each can vaccinate 100 persons daily.
"We can vaccinate four lakh persons in a day. These trial runs are done to check any flaw at any level or stage so that they can be removed."
As the state gears up for the mega exercise, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has directed the Health Department to incorporate the results of the second sero survey in the strategy for the vaccine rollout so that the high-risk population is covered first.
Besides one state-level vaccine store, 22 at the district and 127 at the block levels would be set up for the vaccine rollout in Punjab, which will also have 570 cold chain points.
Besides one walk-in freezer at Ferozepur, the government of India has decided to provide one more in Chandigarh. In addition, the state will have one walk-in cooler each in Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, and Ferozepur, with more to be received from the Centre.
In addition, the state has 1,165 ice-lined refrigerators and 1,079 deep freezers.
Other steps taken in anticipation of the vaccine rollout in the state include mapping of vaccinators, digital platform training in districts, trained manpower for vaccine inventory management, and coordination at various levels.