Government plans technological road map for Covid immunisation
The government is planning a detailed technological road map to optimise the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, officials aware of the matter said. The plan will include the use of more regional languages for creating awareness, addressing challenges of last-mile vaccinators and generating alerts about fake vaccines.
The officials said health workers will be at the forefront of the immunisation drive while information technology (IT) experts will be in charge at the back end. The experts are working to develop requisite software to ensure the vaccine is properly distributed across the country.
An inter-ministerial team for the purpose has members from the ministries of IT, health and as well as the United Nations Development Programme.
The government is expected to roll out the COVIN app to track the procurement, supply and distribution of the vaccine to the last mile, the officials cited above said. The app is likely to be a bolstered version of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (e-VIN) used for the polio eradication programme in India.
The government also plans to rope in start-ups to create additional resources that can be integrated into the network to plug any gaps in the logistical systems.
“The attempt is to create an integrated IT platform that will track the vaccine from the cold supply chain, its allocation, prioritisation of doses,” said an official, who did not want to be named.
The Covid-19 vaccination will cover everyone. Earlier India’s largest immunisation programme against polio included only children under five. “Realtime ground-level information will be available on the portals,” the official cited above said.
The IT ministry also plans to introduce value-added services, which will include interventions to address the technological and regional language challenges for the last mile workers. “For the last-mile workers to provide accurate data on the number of doses administered, the applications will have to be tailored accordingly,” said a second official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The focus will be on increasing the [use of] number of languages available and introducing temperature trackers to monitor the vaccine centrally.”
The second official said the technological solutions will help pick the ideal routes, to immunise all priority patients and ensure that the list is not violated. “The idea is to optimise supply and delivery and all possible solutions to that end will be worked out.”
The first official said an integrated portal will also contain warnings against fake vaccines that are likely to become available as the immunisation programme starts. The technology has been showcased to other countries as well in case they require help in creating their own systems, the first official added.
HT on Tuesday reported that the government is planning to mobilise the same resources used to conduct the polio immunisation programme for Covid-19 vaccination. The e-VIN technology is currently active in 32 states and Union Territories and the government plans to roll it out in the remaining ones immediately.
“... 23,507 cold chain points across 585 districts of 22 states and 2 UTs [Union Territories] 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 said in a statement in August.
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