The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday said that a dry run of the coronavirus vaccination drive will be conducted in four states on December 28 and 29 in order to assess the preparation for it. In a release on Friday, the health ministry said that the dry run will be conducted in two districts each of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab.

The activity will include end-to-end mobilisation of all the steps involved in the vaccination process, except for the administering of the shot, the release said. It will also check the usage of Co-WIN, an online portal to monitor the entire exercise.

The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at block and district levels, and preparation of feedback to be shared with the state and the Centre, the release said. It will further focus on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation.

The ministry also said that 2,360 people belonging to different categories of vaccine handlers and administrators have been trained at the national level, and all states and Union Territories except Lakshadweep have also completed training.

The release chalked out the priority groups for the first phase of vaccination. “The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration of Covid-19 has recommended three prioritised population groups including healthcare workers (about 1 crore), frontline workers (about 2 crore), and prioritised age group (about 27 crore),” the health ministry said.

While there has been no official confirmation on India’s vaccine programme, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said earlier this week that vaccination is expected to begin “any week” of January. The government has already identified 30 crore people, including healthcare workers and elderly people, who will receive the shot in the first phase of inoculation, Vardhan said.

The Covishield vaccine made by Serum Institute of India, which has partnered with British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and Covaxin, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research, are the two potential candidates that have applied for authorisation.

Besides these, six more vaccine candidates are in various stages of clinical trials. The final call on the efficacy of a vaccine will be taken by the Drugs Controller General of India.

India recorded 23,067 new coronavirus cases on Friday morning, taking its total to 1,01,46,845. Less than 2.8 lakh of these are active cases, the health ministry said. A total of 1,47,092 people have died of the coronavirus in the country, with 336 of those deaths coming in the last 24 hours, the data showed.

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