All about COVID-19

The Hindu Explains | How is India preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

The story so far: The Union Health Ministry on Saturday announced that the COVID-19 vaccination drive will begin on January 16, after the forthcoming festivals of Lohri, Makar Sankranti, Pongal and Magh Bihu. The government had earlier approved emergency use authorisation (EUA) for two vaccine candidates — the Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine developed jointly by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, and Bharat Biotech’s indigenous Covaxin. With Saturday’s announcement, the country is set to begin population-level immunisation for COVID-19 and finds itself facing one of the biggest logistical challenges in a long while.

What are the challenges?

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, speaking to reporters on Friday, said this about vaccine distribution in the U.S.: “[It would be] the greatest operational challenge we will ever face as a nation.”

Coronavirus | India ready to save humanity with two vaccines, says Modi

In India, with its vast geographical spread, the sheer volume of its population, and questions of access, the vaccination drive will be fraught with challenges, and the most careful planning down to the last mile is required, not only to vaccinate and provide both the doses, but to also monitor adverse events. The Centre recently conducted dry runs of COVID-19 vaccination to check if the systems laid down for the operationalisation of vaccine delivery are in place and working well.

Who is in line for a vaccine?

Priority will be given to the healthcare and frontline workers, estimated to be around 3 crore in number, followed by those above 50 years of age and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities, numbering around 27 crore, the Health Ministry said on Saturday. People who have an active COVID-19 infection or associated symptoms are advised not to come to vaccination camps, so as to avoid spreading the virus. They may seek a vaccine 14 days after the symptoms abate, according to the FAQ issued by the Health Ministry earlier. Taking the COVID-19 vaccine is entirely voluntary.

What is Co-WIN?

In good measure, the dry runs were not only a step to test the operational feasibility of various States to roll out the vaccine programme effectively, but also a recce to see if the electronic vaccine intelligence network, eVIN, used during routine immunisation programmes, and remodelled as Co-WIN, was functional at the field-level.

Coronavirus | Why people with prior infection still need COVID-19 vaccination

Co-WIN aspires to be a comprehensive digital database of every COVID-19 vaccine that will be administered in India — tracking beneficiaries, intimating them about vaccine sites and dates, pre- and post-vaccination procedures, issuance of vaccination certificates, and following up through the booster dose. On January 5, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said the details of healthcare and frontline workers in line for a shot had already been updated on the Co-WIN system, in bulk, by State and district health authorities. Currently, self-registration is not allowed on the application.

It has been promised that ‘at a later stage of implementation’, Co-WIN will also be available as an application or as a website in multiple Indian languages so that beneficiaries can access it to keep track of their own progress and be connected organically to the system, if questions were to arise. It will also be a tool for others to “register” for a vaccine once the first line of targeted beneficiaries is cleared.

Coronavirus | Electoral rolls to identify priority beneficiaries for COVID-19 vaccine: Govt.

Aadhaar or any accepted photo ID card may be used to verify the identity of the applicant to prevent misuse. Additionally, documents authorised by specialists to indicate co-morbidities or any other health conditions may be demanded.

Further details are also awaited on the steps that will be taken to allocate turns in the schedule after the registration and for further communication regarding the date and venue of vaccination, even to people who may not have access to devices or the Internet. As per current information, text messages will be sent out after registration, telling the registrant where and when to go to get the shot.

After the second dose, Co-WIN will generate a digital certificate of completion for individuals who have been vaccinated. Messaging, chatbots and helpline assistance are available on the app, and any adverse event after the vaccination may be communicated back to the authorities through one of these access points.

Coronavirus | New challenges for COVID-19 vaccine trials in India

What is the kind of field-level mobilisation required for the drive?

The existing State and district health networks are readying themselves to set in place every nut and bolt in the elaborate systems that will be required for the vaccination drive. This includes mobilising personnel, making sure transportation systems are in place to take the vaccine packs to different camps, ensuring healthcare personnel are able to reach the spot on time, making sure a cold-chain system is in place, identifying and removing hurdles that might prevent beneficiaries in the general population (at a later date) from reaching the spot, and ensuring coordination between different teams on actual vaccination days to avoid any hitches.

Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 2:17:50 PM |

In This Package
You are reading
The Hindu Explains | How is India preparing to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?
The Hindu Explains | Why was a COVID-19 vaccine dry run necessary, and how was it organised?
Coronavirus | Why people with prior infection still need COVID-19 vaccination
Explained | What we know about China-made vaccines
How infections among participants are a part of vaccine trials | The Hindu In Focus podcast
The Hindu Explains | What is emergency use authorisation for drugs and vaccines?
Coronavirus | How the new variant quickly accumulated 23 mutations
Coronavirus | New variant does not increase reinfection risk, disease severity, deaths
Coronavirus | N501Y mutation in SARS-CoV-2 virus causes increased infectivity in mice: researchers
The Hindu Explains | Are viruses expected to change form, and will vaccines protect against a mutating SARS-CoV-2?
Coronavirus | Is the first wave coming to an end in India?
Has India passed the COVID-19 peak? | The Hindu Parley podcast
Has India passed its COVID-19 peak, as a new government study claims? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
No evidence to suggest coronavirus cluster 5 variant found in minks increases virus transmissibility, disease severity
SARS-CoV-2 not the last virus to spark a pandemic, says expert
The Hindu Explains | Who are the top contenders in the race for a COVID-19 vaccine?
The vaccine networks India will rely on and the challenges ahead | The Hindu In Focus podcast
Study advances use of indomethacin for treatment of mild cases
How an asymptomatic player turned super-spreader
How close are we to getting a COVID-19 vaccine? | The Hindu In Focus podcast
WHO warns against pursuing herd immunity to stop coronavirus
Studies document in-flight transmission of coronavirus
Experimental study finds how coronavirus can spread while speaking
Can universal masking be a crude ‘vaccine’?
The Hindu Explains | Is COVID-19 setting off a bradykinin storm in the body?
Coronavirus | Lung damage in COVID-19 dead may shed light on ‘long COVID’: study
The Hindu Explains | What does herd immunity mean for COVID-19?
The Hindu Explains | What do we know about Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate Sputnik V?
Coronavirus | Russian vaccine generated strong immune response, says Lancet study
Watch | Is COVID-19 intensifying in rural India?
The Hindu Explains | Why is Phase-3 of COVID-19 vaccine trial complicated?
The Hindu Explains | What are the long-term effects of COVID-19?
The Hindu Explains | Are there re-infection fears around COVID-19?
Watch | COVID-19 and children
The Hindu Explains | Is SARS-CoV-2 a latent virus which can recur?
Watch | What is an immunity passport?
WHO says COVID-19 by far its worst global health emergency
CDC says revised guidance on coronavirus spread posted in error, removes it
Coronavirus | Plasma therapy may look promising in treating COVID-19, but it is no magic bullet
Coronavirus | Different kinds of SARS-CoV-2 exist in India but none more lethal than the other: Indian Academy of Sciences President
The Hindu Explains | Is airborne transmission of COVID-19 a risk?
Watch | What are serological surveys?
The Hindu Explains | Why is a psoriasis drug being used to treat COVID-19 patients?
Video: In conversation with Andrew Pollard, Director of Oxford Vaccine Group
Watch | All you need to know about pulse oximeters
Coronavirus | Why are only a fraction of cases tested?
Coronavirus | Vaccine was rapidly synthesised as novel coronavirus sequence was available, says virologist Gagandeep Kang
A step closer to developing a potent drug against novel coronavirus
Coronavirus | The importance of ‘contact tracing’
Coronavirus | Are diabetics more prone to COVID-19?
Private firms ready to test for COVID-19
Coronavirus | How does soap use help in tackling COVID-19?
Fight for the finite: On budgetary allocation for health
Coronavirus | A problematic testing strategy
Fighting COVID-19 together for a shared future
Scientists get ready to test rival COVID-19 pandemic vaccines in animals
Coronavirus | The cost of opacity
Watch | COVID-19: Masks and sanitisers are now essential commodities
A COVID-19 control plan made simple
Watch | Your COVID-19 queries answered
Coronavirus | How is India containing COVID-19?
Battle against COVID-19
Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry
A COVID-19 response that is quick off the blocks
Watch | Why is COVID-19 not a pandemic yet?
Watch | Coronavirus: Can masks protect you?
Watch | How is India dealing with coronavirus?
WHO’s unexplained hesitancy
Watch | Bats and the novel coronavirus
Coronavirus | India shares two SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences
COVID-19 | We are in uncharted territory, says WHO
Explained | Why is COVID-19 not a pandemic yet?
New COVID-19 epidemic at ‘decisive point’: WHO chief
COVID-19 vaccine may be ready by 2022: SII
Explainer: How WHO names a new disease
WHO names deadly viral disease from China as 'COVID-19'
Explained | When can people transmit the novel coronavirus?
Analysis | For China’s Xi, the coronavirus challenge comes laden with economic costs and political risks
How bats harbour several viruses yet not get sick
WHO declares coronavirus outbreak a global emergency
Watch | What is Coronavirus?
What is the source of the new SARS-like disease reported in China?
Data | The wide, rapid spread of the novel coronavirus
Alarming spread: on novel coronavirus outbreak
Gaps in our knowledge of coronavirus origin need fulfilment: Study
A new virus emerges in China
Next Story