Bhubaneswar: The Government of India, in its ongoing fight against COVID-19, has set up a National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, led by Niti Aayog member VK Paul. The committee is laying out a detailed plan of vaccine storage and delivery. The first lot of COVID vaccine in India is expected by the beginning of 2021, a report published in a reputed National daily revealed.
The Central Government had set up a National Expert Committee on Vaccine Administration, led by Niti Aayog member VK Paul. The committee is laying out a detailed plan of vaccine storage and delivery as Indian awaits its first vaccine by the beginning of 2021. State Governments have been asked to send list of priority groups who should get the vaccines first, the report stated.
The information of the beneficiaries will be added to the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) — a digital platform under National Health Mission, which is already being used at different immunization programmes at 32 states/UTs. It provides real-time information on vaccine stocks, flows, cold storages etc. But at present, it doesn’t track the beneficiaries.
eVIN is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunization supply chain systems across the country. This is being implemented under National Health Mission (NHM) by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. eVIN aims to provide real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country.
This robust system has been used with the requisite customization during the COVID pandemic for ensuring continuation of the essential immunization services and protecting our children and pregnant mothers against vaccine preventable diseases.
Like elections, the vaccination drive will be conducted in phases and schools will be used as booths, reports said. In the first phase, India is looking at vaccinating about 30 million people, including healthcare specialists, who are on the frontline of the fight. The 30 million will include 7 million doctors and paramedics, in addition to 20 million other frontline health workers.
The expert panel is also mulling to use SMS facility to send a message to the beneficiary informing them about the time, date, venue of their vaccine dosage. After an individual receives the vaccine shot and reports no adverse impact, a QR-based digital certificate will be awarded which can be stored in Digilocker, the report added.
At present, 23,507 cold chain points across 585 districts of 22 States and 2 UTs routinely use the eVIN technology for efficient vaccine logistics management. Over 41,420 vaccine cold chain handlers have been introduced to digital record-keeping by training them on eVIN. Nearly 23,900 electronic temperature loggers have been installed on vaccine cold chain equipment for accurate temperature review of vaccines in storage, the Government had stated earlier.
The Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network has helped create a big data architecture that generates actionable analytics encouraging data-driven decision-making and consumption based planning that helps in maintaining optimum stocks of vaccines leading to cost savings. Vaccine availability at all times has increased to 99% in most health centers.
An activity rate of more than 99% reflects high adoption of the technology across all health centers where eVIN is currently operational. While instances of stock-outs have reduced by 80%, the time taken to replenish stocks has also decreased by more than half, on an average. This has ensured that every child who reaches the immunization session site is immunized, and not turned back due to unavailability of vaccines.
To support the Government of India’s efforts to combat COVID-19, eVIN India is helping the State/UT governments monitor the supply chain of COVID response material. Since April 2020, eight States (Tripura, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Maharashtra) are using the eVIN application with 100% adherence rate to track State specific COVID-19 material supplies, ensure availability and raise alerts in case of shortage of 81 essential drugs and equipment.
“This strong platform has the potential to be leveraged for any new vaccine including COVID-19 vaccine, as and when available,” the Centre had stated earlier.