29,000 bloodless chain points, 41,000 deep freezers among govt’s storage plans for Covid-19 vaccine – india news

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The Union ministry of health on Tuesday announced the Centre’s plans for bloodless storage chains as it prepares for a large-scale vaccination drive against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) across the country. It includes 29,000 bloodless chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators which will be to be had for vaccine storage, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.

Bhushan said, all over a press brief, that guidelines for estimation of electrical and non-electrical bloodless chain equipment and their strengthening have been issued to states by the Centre. The guidelines for management of bloodless chain at final bloodless chain points and session sites have also been issued, he said. “Most of these equipment have already been delivered to the states. Some other equipment is being supplied,” he said.

Training modules for people handling the vaccinations like medical officers, vaccinator officers, alternative vaccinator officers, bloodless chain handlers, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators have commenced both physically and via digital platforms. In addition, the National and State Training of Trainers (ToTs) workshops have also been completed, he added.

Bhushan also talked approximately adverse effects of the vaccine, particularly in pregnant women and children. “Adverse events following immunisation is a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunisation program, which has been done for decades, then some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after vaccination,” he said.

The health secretary advised states and Union territories to be prepared to maintain such situations since these effects had already happened in the United Kingdom on the first day of their vaccination drive. He also said that 23 ministries and departments in the Centre and states have been identified and assigned roles like planning, implementation, social mobilisation, awareness generation, among others, for the vaccine roll-out.

The announcement comes a couple of days after the Centre said that the vaccination drive used to be only some months absent. Union minister of state for health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said that to begin with only 100 people per day would get the shot but eventually everyone would be vaccinated. “We’re going to start the process of sending essential equipment for storage and handling of coronavirus vaccine to states. For now, only 100 people will be provided the vaccine at a booth per day. Eventually, everyone will get the vaccine,” he said.

The vaccine carriers, vaccine vials and ice packs are to be strictly kept out of direct sunlight as per the ‘Covid-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines’. “There is probably not vaccine vial monitors (VVM) and Date of Expiry on the label of Covid-19 vaccine, this must not discourage vaccinators from the use of the vaccine. At the end of the session, the vaccine carrier with all ice packs and unopened vaccine vials must be sent back to the distributing bloodless chain point,” the guidelines stated.

Officials have said that 36 states and Union territories have already concluded meetings of State Steering Committees and State Task Force and 633 districts have concluded those of District Task Force.

According to the guidelines issued to states recently, the Covid-19 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.

The vaccine will first be offered to all healthcare and frontline workers, and the people above the age of 50. For the elderly, there is also subdivisions like people between the ages of 50 and 60 and those above 60, with the precedence being provided to the more vulnerable as per the availability of the vaccine. The vaccination of 300 million people has been deliberate in the first stage of the drive.

India currently has 9,906,165 confirmed coronavirus infections and 143,709 deaths.

(With agency inputs)

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