The new Covid Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) for India, have issued guidelines to states recently. These guidelines will have to be followed properly to ensure the benefits of inoculation to the citizens according to the Central government. Co-WIN system is a digitalized platform that will be used to track enlisted recipients for the vaccination and anti-covid vaccines on a real-time basis. Only pre-registered recipients will be vaccinated as per priority, and there will not be any spot-on registration. The covid-19 vaccines will be offered on a priority to healthcare workers, frontline workers, and people above 50 years of age. This will be followed by people younger than 50 with associated illnesses based on the present pandemic situation and finally to the remaining population based on the disease epidemiology and vaccine availability. However, the priority group of people above 50 will be further subdivided into those aged above 60 as well based on the pandemic status and availability of vaccines.
Under phase one of the vaccination, the plans are to vaccinate nearly 30 crore population. Twelve photo-identity documents, including Voter ID, driving license, passport, and any pension documents will be required for self-registration on the Co-WIN website, the guidelines mentioned. The guidelines issued by the Centre for Covid-19 include vaccinating 100-200 people in each session per day, monitoring the same for 30 minutes after vaccinating or any adverse reactions, and allowing only one recipient at a time.
The states have particularly been asked to allocate the vaccine from one manufacturer to a district to avoid mixing of different covid-19 vaccines in the field. As per the Covid-19 vaccine Operational Guidelines, all measures should be taken to avoid exposing the vaccine carrier, vaccine vials, or ice packs to direct sunlight. Vaccines and diluents should be kept inside the vaccine carrier with the lid closed until a recipient comes to the center for vaccination.
“There may not be vaccine vial monitors and Date of Expiry on the label of Covid-19 vaccine and this should not discourage vaccinators from using the vaccine. At the end of the session, the vaccine carrier with all ice packs and unopened vaccine vials should be sent back to the distributing cold chain point,” the guidelines said. States have been asked to enforce an integrated 360-degree comprehensive supporting communication and social mobilization strategy to address the challenges surrounding vaccine rollout progress and benefits.
The Centre stated that the country stands on the sharp cusp of Covid-19 vaccine administration, though certain challenges need to be countered on time. The challenges include ensuring over 1.3 billion people in India receive factual and timely information and updates on vaccine rollout progress and benefits, public’s anxiety and queries with regards to the government’s decisions for prioritization of vaccine administration, any anxiety about the vaccines introduced after the trial which might raise safety concerns, and also fear of adverse events.
Another set of challenges include misconception about the efficiency of vaccines, rumors, and negative narratives in media/social media and lack of care observed in public’s adherence to covid appropriate behavior, the document stated. It also said that the vaccination team will consist of five members and each session should be planned for 100 recipients per day. If the session has adequate logistics and space available for the waiting room and observation room along with arrangements made for managing the crowd then one more officer can be added for vaccinating and the session shall be increased for up to 200 recipients per day.