Cautioning Indians against rumours about coronavirus vaccination, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the country is preparing to undertake the world’s largest vaccination drive against the infection.

Speaking after laying the foundation stone of a new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Gujarat’s Rajkot via videoconference, Modi said: “In 2020, there was a question mark from all sides due to Covid-19 pandemic. But 2021 is coming with the hope of a treatment for Covid-19.”

He said that he was hopeful that the way in which India fought unitedly against the infection, it would similarly work hard to make the vaccination programme successful.

PM Modi said that when India faced any problem, the entire nation united to help each other. “The way in which people took proper steps is the reason why we are in good a situation even amid the pandemic, despite a 1.3-billion population. More than one crore people have fought the pandemic and won. India’s record is much better than other countries in the fight against Covid-19,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that the number of infections in India was going down. Warning the people to not get carried away by rumours, Modi said: “In our country, rumours spread quickly. Different people, for their personal gains or due to irresponsible behaviour, spread various rumours.”

“Maybe, the rumours will be spread when the vaccination drive begins; some have already begun,” the Prime Minister said, appealing to the people to refrain as responsible citizens from forwarding messages on the social media without checking. “India has emerged as the nerve centre of global health. In 2021, we have to strengthen India’s role in healthcare,” he said.

In the meantime, after successfully concluding the Covid-19 vaccination dry run in four states, a similar mega-drill will be conducted in all states and union territories on 2 January. This is aimed at equipping the entire administration and management of vaccine supply, storage and logistics, including cold chain management, the Health Ministry said on Thursday.

The activity is proposed to be conducted in all state capitals in at least three session sites. Some states will also include districts that are situated in difficult terrain or have poor logistical support.

Maharashtra and Kerala are likely to schedule the dry-run in major cities other than their capital. “The objective of the dry run for Covid-19 vaccine introduction is to assess operational feasibility in the use of Co-WIN application in field environment, to test the linkages between planning and implementation and to identify the challenges and guide way forward prior to actual implementation,” the ministry added.

For each of the three session sites, the concerned medical officer In-charge will identify 25 test beneficiaries (healthcare workers). The States and UTs have been asked to ensure that the data of these beneficiaries is uploaded in Co-WIN.

These beneficiaries will also be available at the session site for the dry run. The States and UTs have also been asked to prepare the facilities and users to be created on CoWIN application including uploading the data of Health Care Worker (HCW) beneficiaries.

The States and UTs have been directed to ensure physical verification of all proposed sites for adequacy of space, logistical arrangements, Internet connectivity, electricity, safety.

They have been asked to prepare at least three model session sites in each State for demonstration, ensure that the Model Sites have separate entry and exit in a ‘three-room set-up’ with adequate space outside for awareness generation activities, display all IEC material at these sites.

As the vaccine administrators will play an important role in the vaccination process, training of trainers and those who shall administer the vaccine has been taken up across various states. Around 96,000 vaccinators have been trained for this purpose.

About 2,360 participants have been trained in National Training of Trainers and over 57,000 participants trained in District level training in 719 districts. States are augmenting the State helpline 104, which shall be used in addition to 1075, for any vaccine and software related query.

Orientation and capacity building of the Call Centre executives has taken place in the States and UTs. States were also encouraged to use the FAQs issued by the Health Ministry proactively to address any such query.

An important focus of the dry run will be on management of any possible adverse events following immunisation (AEFI). In addition, adherence and management of infection control practices at the session site, to prevent disease transmission.

The mock drill will include concurrent monitoring and review at the block and district levels, and preparation of feedback. The State Task Force shall review the feedback and share with the Union Health Ministry.

On 28-29 December, dry run for the Covid-19 vaccination was conducted in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh, Rajkot and Gandhinagar district of Gujarat, Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar of Punjab and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam.