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600 million injections, 100 people per session: Details of India’s mega vaccination campaign | India News

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NEW DELHI: With at least three candidate vaccines under regulatory review for emergency use, India has begun preparing for a mega vaccination campaign to immunize millions of vulnerable people in the next six to eight months.
The government has said it will deploy its vast electoral machinery to deliver 60 crore of Covid vaccines to 30 crore Indians, including frontline and healthcare workers, priority groups over 50 and those under 50 with comorbidities.
“The government has aligned cold storage facilities with temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius (36 to 48 ° F),” said Dr. VK Paul, a member of Niti Aayog and head of the National Group of Experts on Covid Vaccination. -19.

Paul said these preparations meet the requirements of what he said were the four emerging candidates in the race for the Indian vaccine.
“The four that I can see, including Serum, Bharat, Zydus and Sputnik, need a normal cold chain. I don’t see any problem for these vaccines,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is already mass-producing and stocking AstraZeneca’s Covishield injection, while Indian biotech players Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadila are developing their own candidate vaccines.
‘100 people to vaccinate per session’
However, unlike standard immunization campaigns in which hundreds of people are vaccinated in one day, the government plans to provide only 100 anti-corona injections per day at each site.

Community halls and makeshift tents can be used for vaccination at a later stage.
Following a POE issued by the Union’s health ministry, states have begun to improve the infrastructure for the vaccination campaign and are in the process of identifying hospitals dedicated to ‘adverse events after immunization’ (AEFI), as well as specific vaccination sites to meet Covid requirements. inoculation.

According to the draft POE, each vaccination site will have five vaccination officers, including a guard, and three rooms, one for waiting, vaccination and observation.
Each person who receives the vaccine will be obligatorily kept under observation for 30 minutes to check for AEFI and those who develop serious side effects will be transferred to the hospital identified by the state.
‘Approvals soon’
Meanwhile, the government has said it expects first approvals “very soon” from the emergency medicine regulator.
“I hope ASAP because we are ready,” Paul said.
However, the government had not yet had formal price talks and had no firm purchase orders, he said.
“Indian companies know that the government will give a fair and reasonable price.”
Currently, Indian regulators are considering three vaccines for emergency use authorization, including those from Pfizer Inc, AstraZeneca and Bharat Biotech.
But Pfizer’s limited reserves and its requirements for extreme storage conditions of minus 70 degrees Celsius or below would likely limit its use in India, which lacks such infrastructure.
“In a theoretical scenario, where there is no vaccine with the conventional cold chain requirement, capacities of minus 70 degrees Celsius will have to be created, and we will,” Paul said.
Paul said the government is also in talks with Moderna, which also has requirements for ultra-cold storage.
India doesn’t expect supplies from either Pfizer or Moderna until the second half of next year, Paul said.
“We would like to work with them (Moderna) so that this vaccine is available in India, and (ensure) that the vaccine is also manufactured in India, for us and for other countries. This is the call that we have also given to Pfizer and they are also in contact with them. ”
Paul said India may still consider granting emergency use authorization to Pfizer, even though it has not conducted safety and immune response trials in India, but said the decision will be made by the drug regulator.
“As of now, it is a rule or standard operating procedure that any vaccine marketed in India must have results from human studies of Indian subjects,” he said.

Increase production
At the same time, the government is also preparing with 28,947 cold chain points with 85,643 teams across the country that are capable of storing the vaccines.
The Center is mobilizing additional vaccinators, a digital platform for vaccine delivery, and a detailed implementation plan to inoculate the priority population in the first phase.

The Center is also organizing additional vaccines for Covid-19 in coordination with the states and UT to ensure that regular vaccination programs are not affected. Out of a total of 2.39 lakh of trained auxiliary nurses and midwife vaccinators (ANM), 1.54 lakh will be deployed for Covid vaccination, the Health Ministry said.

As part of the vaccination campaign, Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD) and Iscon Surgicals, the two companies that bagged orders for more than 230 million syringes to aid the country’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, have already manufactured 90 million pieces. The full order will be completed in March 2021.

The Ministry of Health has also developed Co-Win, a digital platform for the delivery of vaccines, which will control general coverage, dropouts, temperature recorders (for the cold chain), planned sessions versus those held, etc. . The digital platform includes a mobile application where a person can register to receive the vaccine. It also includes an electronic vaccination certificate in the form of a quick response code that will recognize the vaccine.
(With input from Reuters)

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