Home / News / India /  India to help create vaccinology training programme

Top Indian experts managing the national covid-19 immunization programme are working with specialists from other countries in a global effort to devise a comprehensive training programme on vaccinology, according to Indian government officials aware of the development.

Indian specialists recently participated in a ‘Global Collaboration Advanced Vaccinology Training’ meeting in Geneva where the need for a basic vaccinology training module for healthcare personnel across the world to address the healthcare crisis was discussed.

India was represented by Dr N.K. Arora, head of the covid-19 working group in the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NTAGI). NTAGI makes vaccine recommendations on the basis of disease burden, efficacy and cost effectiveness.

“A need has been identified that healthcare providers at all the levels need to be oriented towards vaccines, vaccine-related challenges, its delivery, and acceptance. The overall purpose is to develop vaccinology modules that can be taken up for health professionals at all levels," said the Indian government official cited above requesting anonymity.

India started its massive covid-19 vaccination drive in January 2021. At present, all adults and children in the age group of 12-14 years are eligible for the vaccine. India is also setting up a cadre of frontline epidemiologists to counter future pandemics.

“There were discussions on how to provide advanced vaccinology education to healthcare professionals in the context of the health crisis, to help courses address challenges in priority areas, and to facilitate activities and information exchange. Further, we explored ways and means to do collaboration between these different vaccinology courses formalized in future," Arora told Mint.

India has administered at least 1.84 billion doses so far. Over 17 million vaccine doses have been administered to children while 23 million individuals have received a booster jab. India is also conducting a study on mixing covid-19 vaccines Covaxin and Covishield. Recently, CMC Vellore submitted preliminary findings of the study to NTAGI.

“None of the countries in the world has vaccinated more than 90% of its population. Only India has administered more than 98% of its population with at least first dose of vaccine. So, we explained to them how India is conducting the world’s biggest vaccination drive," Arora said.

The objective of this international programme was to identify ways to support and facilitate training, share experiences and best practices, review covid impact and ongoing vaccination programmes worldwide, and identify the training needs and solutions to facilitate refresher courses. Top medical professionals from approximately 70 countries participated.

Priyanka Sharma
Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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