Waiting for the good news

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Drug Controller General of India V G Somani has hinted at something that is undoubtedly going to cheer up the people of the country. Speaking at a webinar, he said that India is likely to have a COVID-19 vaccine in the New Year. It may be recalled that the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer have applied to the DCGI seeking emergency use authorisation for their COVID-19 vaccine candidates and are awaiting approval. The DCG revealed that the approval process was fast-tracked in view of the pandemic by quickly processing all applications, allowing parallel phase 1 and 2 trials without waiting for complete data without compromising safety or efficacy of the data.

Amid this cheering news, the Government of India has decided that a dry run for COVID-19 vaccination will be conducted by all state and union territory administrations on January 2 to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges. The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least 3 session sites. The objective of the dry run for COVID-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation. This is also expected to give confidence to programme managers at various levels. Regarding the dry run to be held, for each of the three session sites, the Medical Officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The dry run will also equip the state and UT administration in management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics including cold chain management, the ministry stated.An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir administration too is preparing itself for COVID-19 vaccination expected to be launched soon.

While hoping that the vaccination process would begin very soon and the concerned government agencies, as per the claims made by them, are fully prepared for the drive, people need not be complacent. They have to strictly adhere to the Covid-19 guidelines and follow all the precautions. What happened in UK should be an eye opener for people here. While being cheerful about the expected good news, they need not to lower the guard. They have to understand that while the government machinery all over is making all efforts to have the vaccine and ensure the vaccination of masses, there still are many slips between the cup and the lips. And thus adherence to wearing masks and mainting social distance is the key to remain safe.

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