96,000 vaccinators trained till now, says health minister as day 1 of nationwide dry run ends

Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said on Sunday the dry run of the coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccination drive on Saturday was based on poll process planned down to the booth level and that more than 57,000 participants across 719 districts had completed training.

“The vaccination drive has been based on election process planned down to the booth level. Over 57,000 participants across 719 districts have completed training. 96,000 vaccinators have been trained so far,” Vardhan said, according to news agency ANI.

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Vardhan on Saturday had visited two mock vaccination centres in the national capital of Delhi to monitor the dry run drill for administering vaccine doses. He said that free vaccines would be given to the most prioritised beneficiaries which include one crore health care workers and 20 million frontline workers adding that details of how further 270 million prioritised beneficiaries are to be vaccinated until July were being finalised.

The Union health minister also urged citizens to not pay attention to rumours as the vaccination drive was underway. “I appeal to people not to pay heed to rumours. Ensuring the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is our priority. Different kinds of rumours were spread during polio immunisation but people took the vaccine and India is now polio-free,” he had said.

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The Union health ministry had carried out an all-India mock drill at 286 sites across 125 districts in order to test the end-end planned operations and the apparatus which had been put up to ensure the smooth conduction of the coronavirus vaccination drive that would begin shortly. This exercise was earlier performed in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Gujarat and Punjab between December 28 and December 29.

Meanwhile, the Drugs Controller General of India (DGCI) will hold a news briefing at 11am on Sunday on the coronavirus vaccine. This comes after the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation (CDSCO) recommended that the vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech be granted permission for restricted emergency use.

(With agency inputs)

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