The Union’s Ministry of Health on Tuesday announced plans for the Center for Cold Storage Chains, as it prepares for a large-scale vaccination campaign against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) across the country. It includes 29,000 points for the cold chain, 240 coolers, 70 freezers, 45,000 ice refrigerators, 41,000 freezers and 300 solar refrigerators that will be available for vaccine storage, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.
Bhushan said in a press release that the guidelines for estimating the electrical and non-electrical equipment of the cold chain and consolidating them have been issued to the states by the center. He also said that guidelines for the management of the cold chain had been issued at the last points of the cold chain and at the session places. “All this equipment has already been delivered to the states. Other equipment is being delivered, “he said.
Training modules for people handling vaccinations, such as medical officers, vaccination officers, alternative vaccination officers, cold chain managers, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators began both physically and through digital platforms. Moreover, national and state training of trainers (ToTs) workshops have been completed, he added.
Bhushan also spoke about the side effects of the vaccine, especially in pregnant women and children. “Adverse events after immunization are a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunization program, which has been carried out for decades, then we see some side effects in children and pregnant women after vaccination, “he said.
The Secretary of Health advised the states and territories of the Union to be prepared to deal with such situations, as these effects had already occurred in the UK on the first day of vaccination. He also said that 23 ministries and departments in the center and states have been identified and assigned roles such as planning, implementation, social mobilization, awareness raising, among others, for the launch of the vaccine.
The announcement comes days after the Center said the vaccination effort was just a few months away. The Union’s Minister of Health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, said that initially only 100 people a day would be shot, but eventually everyone would be vaccinated. “We will begin the process of sending the necessary equipment for the storage and handling of the coronavirus vaccine to the states. So far, only 100 people will receive the vaccine at one stand a day. Eventually, everyone will get the vaccine, “he said.
Vaccine holders, vaccine vials and ice packs must be kept strictly away from direct sunlight, in accordance with the “Covid-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines”. “There may be no vaccine vial monitors (VVM) and Expiration Date on the Covid-19 vaccine label, this should not discourage vaccinators from using the vaccine. At the end of the session, the vaccine carrier with all ice packs and unopened vaccine vials should be sent back to the cold chain distribution point, “the guidelines stated.
Officials said 36 states and territories of the Union have already closed meetings of state steering committees and the state task force, and 633 districts have closed meetings of the district task force.
According to guidelines recently issued to states, the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system – a digitized platform – will be used to track beneficiaries enrolled for vaccination and coronavirus vaccines in real time.
The vaccine will first be offered to all healthcare and front-line workers, as well as people over the age of 50. For the elderly, there may be subdivisions such as people aged between 50 and 60 and those over 60, with priority being given to all the more vulnerable according to the availability of the vaccine. Vaccination of 300 million people was planned in the first stage of the journey.
India currently has 9,906,165 confirmed coronavirus infections and 143,709 deaths.
(With agency entries)