Second Covid vaccine dry run concludes, internet link still an issue

Second Covid vaccine dry run concludes, internet link still an issue
Posted 11 Jan 2021 | Source: Express News Service

BENGALURU: The second vaccine dry run at eight sites in Bengaluru — one in each BBMP zone — went smoothly, barring issues in network connectivity and technical problems with the CoWIN portal. 
Health officials on ground suggested that WiFi or broadband connection be put up even in primary health centres as the Co-WIN portal was crucial for the immunisation programme. 

A health official at the Singasandra Urban Primary Health Centre in Bommanahalli, said, “Mobile internet is needed to upload data on the portal, to register and generate an OTP. Sometimes there are network issues which is why Wifi or broadband connections would be useful.” He said vaccinators need to have more capacity building, to deal with cases of Adverse Event Following Immunization (AEFI).

“More rigorous training is required to handle any issues post vaccination. To assuage the fears and apprehension of the public, a counsellor can also be present to speak to beneficiaries during registration and prior to vaccination,” he said. At Kengeri Community Health Centre in RR Nagar zone, the dry run took two-and-a-half hours for 25 beneficiaries.

“There were issues with the CoWIN portal. It would not open when we had to update that the beneficiary’s identity has been verified and vaccination completed. This is a problem with the portal itself and not a network issue. In the case of AEFI, we have tagged a list of hospitals nearby who can handle extreme cases requiring more medical attention,” he said. 

A health officer who oversaw the dry run at KR Puram General Hospital said the drive went by smoothly and took four hours. All facilities and staff were present. “Once the person received the mock dose, it is marked as partially vaccinated on the portal and once they take the second dose after 28 days, it will be marked as total vaccination. Beneficiaries were made to wait in the observation room for half an hour after the vaccination,” he said. 

Aster CMI Hospital in Yelahanka zone, which was also part of the dry run, had arranged for a crash cart with emergency medications and oxygen support. “We also provided support from the ER department including specialties such as pulmonology and cardiology that were available from 9-11am. The mock dry run has helped us streamline the process. As it was a dry run, the CoWIN portal was not functional today. However, it will be active on the day of the actual drive as per the PHC doctor,” said Dr Swati Rajagopal, consultant for infectious disease and travel medicine at Aster CMI Hospital.