States are preparing for the first phase of vaccination and awaiting approval from the Center
A day after the national drug controller approved two vaccines against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), state governments awaited on Monday the approval of the Center for a mass immunization campaign, which could begin in the second week of January. To begin with, around 300 million people – healthcare personnel, frontline workers, people over 50 and people with comorbidities – will be vaccinated in a staggered fashion. States are already sending beneficiary data to the Center.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state administration was waiting for a communication from the Center on the availability of the Covid vaccine and had conducted drills to administer it.
Dr. Subhash Salunkhe, chairman of the communicable disease prevention control and technical committee, said that the state had prepared a list of 758,000 Covid warriors, who will receive the vaccine in the first phase. “A detailed list of health care providers by district has been provided to the Center in its Co-WIN app,” he said, referring to the app the Center has introduced to facilitate the vaccination campaign and to monitor progress in real time.
Dr. Shashank Joshi, a member of the state vaccination task force, said the Center was expected to purchase the vaccine and distribute it among states. “We don’t know when this process will start,” he said.
Health Minister Raghu Sharma said the state was fully prepared to implement vaccination by developing centers, even as ambulance service will be available at all those facilities in the event of an adverse reaction, if any. “We have had a trial in 19 locations, including Jaipur and even private hospitals,” he said.
Health officials in Assam said that around 150,000 health workers and front-line personnel registered with the government would receive the vaccine in the first phase. “We have not received any confirmation from the Center on how many doses of the vaccine Assam would receive,” said S Lakshmanan, director of the Assam National Health Mission. He said states cannot directly buy vaccines.
Dr. K Sudhakar, the state’s minister of medical education, said that all Corona warriors will receive the vaccine in the first phase at no cost. “We will also use existing infrastructure and the Center will add additional infrastructure as needed,” he said. The minister said the vaccine is expected to be available in January. “We are awaiting instructions from the Center on the next steps,” he said.
According to Punjab Covid Nodal Officer Dr. Rajesh Bhaskar, there is no exact information on when inoculation will begin. “The state has also not received any tentative plans,” he said, adding that the state has already submitted data on 160,000 frontline workers to the Center.
Health Minister TS Singhdeo said the state will receive vaccines from the central government and the exact date has not been decided. “In the first phase, the vaccines would be given to 254,000 registered health officials in the state,” he said.
Kuldeep Singh Martoliya, Nodal Covid-19 Vaccination Officer, said the Hill State expected to receive the Center’s vaccines soon. “We have been assured that the vaccines will be provided to us in early 2021. The Uttarakhand government has shared the data of more than 94,000 health workers with the Center,” he said.
Vaccines will be administered to about 450,000 health workers in primary health centers, community health centers and district hospitals, said Dr. Santosh Shukla, the nodal vaccination officer. “As long as we receive the vaccines, we will start the inoculation process in the next two days,” he said, adding that all the trials have been successful and the vaccination will be done while maintaining the norms of social distancing.
The Haryana health department will conduct a statewide trial on January 7 to test readiness for the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine. The department has already identified 19,000 vaccination sites and around 5,145 vaccinators have been mapped for the process.
“The quantity of vaccines available and the priority groups would depend on the central government. We will launch vaccination quickly, once the vaccine is available, ”said Rajeev Arora, additional chief secretary (ACS) for health.
Data from 190,000 healthcare workers was uploaded to the CoWIN portal, he said.
About 439,000 health workers will be vaccinated in Bihar and 14,724 vaccinators have so far been identified, Health Minister Mangal Pandey said. He said the state was in the process of providing last-minute training to its vaccinators and immunization officers. “The picture will be clear by the end of this week,” said a Bihar government official, requesting anonymity.
About 250,000 health workers will be vaccinated in the first phase. The state health official said each district would have a vaccine distribution center, from where vaccines would be shipped in refrigerated vans to block community health centers.
Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said 600,000 health workers will receive the vaccine once the Center informs the state when the campaign will begin. “The Center has given instructions to conduct drills in the states, which is being done in five districts,” he said. More than 2,000 people and 100 other people are participating in the drill, he said. The secretary also said that more than 5,000 refrigerated facilities have been created to store the vaccine.
A health department official, who declined to be cited, said the state could obtain 170,000 vials of vaccines in the first phase and that the focus shifted to cold chain management, a crucial part of storage and distribution.
Health Minister Eatala Rajender said the Center could initially supply 500,000 doses. An official familiar with the development said the vaccination registration process was expected to begin in the second week of January. The government is establishing 10,000 vaccination centers throughout the state.
Amit Mohan Prasad, Additional Chief Secretary for Family Health and Welfare, said 900,000 healthcare workers have signed up for the first phase of the Covid vaccination campaign. Prime Minister Yogi Adityanath said Sunday that the vaccine is likely to be available in the state around Makar Sankranti (January 14). Officials said district magistrates have been asked to set up district task forces, tehsil task forces and bloc task forces to review the campaign.
Health Minister KK Shailaja said the state was fully prepared to carry out the massive campaign. “Our strategy was to delay the peak (of infections) and restrict the casualties… we succeeded in both. Since the population density of the state is quite high and (due to) the prevalence of a high incidence of lifestyle-related diseases, we need to get more vaccinations in the early stage. We have informed the Union Ministry of Health about this, ”said Shailaja.
(with contributions from HT offices)