Come Sankranti and Pongal, immunization of COVID-19 vaccine should start in Telangana, with the first dose for 80 lakhs in target groups, administered in eight to 10 days and the second dose in another four weeks, said the director of Telangana for public health , G Srinivas Rao, for NDTV.
Although no formal emergency use authorization has been granted for any vaccine, sources said it is likely to be Covaxin Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute vaccine in India, as both are considered more suitable for Indian conditions.
The third candidate considered by Pfizer would be extremely difficult to handle, as it requires the maintenance of the cold chain at minus 70 degrees Celsius, which is technically and logistically tough. In addition, it would be relatively likely expensive.
Preparations are underway to prepare for the major vaccination operation of all targeted and vulnerable groups in the state.
Telangana’s COVID-19 war chamber has now been transformed into the state’s centralized control room for vaccination, from where planning, training and strategy are finalized for vaccinating the target population of 80 lakhs from mid-January.
Mr Rao said Telangana hopes they will be ready by the end of the month with human resources and infrastructure. “We hope that the vaccination program in mid-January will be launched … We are ready to cover the target population in 8-10 days,” Rao told NDTV.
The state is expected to receive 1.6 doses of 80 lakh vaccine, which will be administered in two shots. Targeted beneficiaries include three lakh doctors, nurses, ward boys and public and private sector technicians.
The second group is front-line workers, which includes about a lakh of police personnel, health workers and defense personnel.
The third category is over 50, expected to be 18% of the population, and the fourth is under 50 with comorbidities, which will represent 2-3% of the population.
The infrastructure is growing to increase storage capacity with 10 new regional vaccine source centers with a crore dose capacity that will exclusively store COVID-19 vaccines. The central warehouse also adds capacity for two million doses.
New cold chain vans were ordered for each vaccine transport district.
What is reassuring is that the state and the country already have staff trained with experience in mammoth vaccination actions. The state already has 1,000 centers that have cooling systems.
“Earlier, for a vaccination action in 2017, a quarter of the population or a million people were covered in two to three weeks. We already have 10,000 vaccinators in the government system, not including private sector vaccinators,” he said. Rao.
“Routine immunization is already robust in India. We do not want to disrupt the existing immunization program. There is enough infrastructure and we are adding them,” he said.
As this is a new vaccine, the administration is preparing for adverse events to allay fears and plans to involve public representatives in the vaccination process.
Telangana has 2,78,599 cumulative cases of COVID-19, of which 491 have been reported in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate is over 95%. With total deaths at 1,499, three deaths were reported today. The mortality rate is 1.5% in general, and the total tests performed in Telangana are 62,05,688.