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70 lakh healthcare workers to receive Covid vaccine first, govt to use ‘poll booth strategy’

Government has asked states to identify specific days for vaccination, adequate number of potential vaccinators and other support staff.

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New Delhi: As India moves closer to approving a Covid-19 vaccine, the Modi government has registered 70 lakh healthcare workers who will be the first beneficiaries of the immunisation drive across the country.  

The government has prepared a presentation, ‘Preparedness for COVID-19 Vaccine’, for the process. According to the 25-slide presentation dated 31 December, accessed by ThePrint, a total of 70,33,338 healthcare workers have been registered on a mobile application — ‘Co-WIN’ — to kickstart the vaccination process. 

Co-WIN will be used for everything, from registration for the vaccine to tracking the after-effects. The latest status of the database created by the central government, according to the presentation, includes registration of over 2.30 lakh vaccinators followed by more than 51,000 public health facilities and 1.62 lakh private health facilities. 

The government has also noted that the vaccination drive will be designed based “on the learnings of the election process (booth strategy)”. 

The government has also asked states to identify specific days for vaccination, adequate number of potential vaccinators and other support staff for vaccination teams like mobilisers, verifiers (using Co WIN software) and personnel for crowd management.

Steps to be followed for vaccine

The presentation lists out the steps to be followed for getting the vaccine shot. 

In the first step, a beneficiary has to register on the Co-WIN system using a valid photo identity card. 

Following this, the beneficiary will receive a text message on their registered mobile number for “confirmation” of the registration for vaccination. Another text message will be generated mentioning the “date, time and place of vaccination”.

In the third step at the vaccination site, the same text message will be checked by the “vaccination officer-1” who could be a police officer, home guard officer or officer from civil defence services and national cadet corps among others. The officer will “verify the appointment message and photo ID of the beneficiary”. 

After the verification, the beneficiary will enter the vaccination room that will have “vaccination officer-3” to administer the shot. According to the presentation, following the shot, “all beneficiaries should wait in the observation area for 30 minutes”. 

Post waiting, vaccination officers 4 and 5 will observe if there are any adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) and ensure Covid appropriate behaviour is being followed by the beneficiaries, which includes washing hands, maintaining social distance and wearing a mask. 

The beneficiary will receive the text message for the completion of vaccination process and the due date for the next shot. The last step involves the beneficiary coming for the second dose of the vaccine on the scheduled date.

Also read: Why poorer nations have low Covid deaths per million as compared to richer countries


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