Central government's two-day vaccination dry run a success, says Union Health Ministry
On Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry has announced that the two-day dry run of the Covid-19 vaccination drive has concluded smoothly. The ministry added that minor issues did pop up during the trial and are being addressed.
“The objective of dry the run is also to undertake and confirm field implementation of IT platform Co-WIN and guideway forward before actual implementation,” the Ministry said in a press release, adding that District Collectors were made responsible for conducting the dry run. This exercise is likely to provide insights on any gaps or bottlenecks during the actual conduct of vaccination.
The two-day dry run was conducted in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot and Gandhinagar in Gujarat, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) in Punjab and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts in Assam. With the success of the dry run, the next step for the health ministry is to clear a Covid-19 vaccine and begin the vaccination drive next year.
The central government is optimistic that the Covid-19 vaccine will work against the new Covid-19 variant. Prof K Vijay Raghavan, Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to Government of India, has said that there is no evidence that the vaccines will fail against the new strain.
“Vaccines will work against the new Coronavirus variant detected in South Africa and the United Kingdom. There is no evidence that the current vaccines will fail to protect against the new variants," Raghavan said at a news conference. However, he added that the UK variant of Covid-19 is more transmissible. He also said that change in variants isn’t enough to make the vaccines ineffective. “Vaccines helps our immune system in producing a wide range of antibodies. Changes in the variants are not sufficient in making the vaccine ineffective, he said.
Meanwhile, among all states, Kerala seems to be facing some big problems when it comes to the fight against the virus. While across India the daily number of Covid-19 cases are coming down, Kerala continues to record the highest amount of daily cases among states. On Tuesday, the state has recorded 5,887 new cases and has a test positivity rate at 9.53%. The state is unable to bring the TPR down and the number of daily deaths continues to be above 20.
A week ago, state health minister KK Shailaja said that the people should stay alert as the state could witness spike in new cases due to the recently concluded local body polls and Christmas and New Year celebrations. With the UK Covid-19 variant detected in India, Kerala is likely to be having patients with the new strain. Recently, 18 UK and European returnees to Kerala have tested positive for Covid-19. The state has sent their samples to National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune, for further testing and to confirm whether these returnees are affected by the UK strain.s
Meanwhile, the Civil Union Aviation Ministry has announced that a short extension of the suspension of flight from the UK is highly possible. “I foresee a short extension on the temporary suspension of flights from the UK. I do not see the extension to be long or indefinite,” Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri told during a press conference on Tuesday. He added that the ministry is also monitoring developments in other countries and will take further decisions accordingly.
Meanwhile, six new cases of new covid-19 strain have been found among returnees in India. Three are in Bengaluru, two in Hyderabad and one in Pune.