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Health ministry, Niti Aayog officials likely to meet EC top brass over COVID vaccine distribution


New Delhi, Dec 17: Officials of the Union health ministry and the Niti Aayog are likely to meet the Election Commission top brass in the coming days to seek their help in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccine given the poll panel's robust network at the booth level, sources aware of the development said on Thursday.

Health ministry, Niti Aayog officials likely to meet EC top brass over COVID vaccine distribution: Sources

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They said the officials have sought a meeting with the EC top brass to understand the process at the grass-roots level. During the planned meeting, the health ministry and Niti Aayog could seek EC's help in distributing the vaccine to the right person and the poll panel's experience in managing voters at the booth level during massive electoral exercises could come in handy.

By successfully holding the Bihar assembly polls recently amid the coronavirus pandemic, the EC has proved the robustness of its system, the sources pointed out.

According to guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination drive, the latest electoral roll for Lok Sabha and assembly elections will be used to identify the priority population over the age of 50 years.

Twelve identity documents, such as Voter ID, Aadhar card, driving licence, passport and pension document, will be required for beneficiary identification. Under phase one of the vaccination, it is planned to vaccinate nearly 30 crore population. Vaccinating 100-200 people in each session per day, monitoring them for 30 minutes after administering the shots for any adverse event and allowing only one beneficiary at a time are among the guidelines issued by the Centre for the COVID-19 inoculation drive.

According to the guidelines, the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system--a digitalised platform--will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis.

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At the vaccination site, only pre-registered beneficiaries will be vaccinated in accordance with the prioritisation, and there will be no provision for on the-spot registrations. The states have been asked, as far as possible, 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, the document stated. Vaccines and diluents should be kept inside the vaccine carrier with the lid closed until a beneficiary comes to the centre for vaccination.

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