29,000 points in the cold chain, 41,000 freezers among the government’s Covid-19 vaccine conservation plans

The Union Health Ministry announced plans for the Center for Cold Storage Chains on Tuesday as it prepares for a large-scale vaccination campaign against coronavirus disease (Covid-19) across the country. It includes 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined fridges, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators that will be available for vaccine storage, Health Secretary Rajesh said Tuesday. Bhushan.

Bhushan said at a press conference that guidelines for estimating electrical and non-electrical equipment for the cold chain and strengthening them have been issued to states by the Center. Guidelines for cold chain management at the last points of the cold chain and at session sites have also been issued, he said. “All of this equipment has already been delivered to the United States. Some other equipment is being provided, “he said.

Training modules for people managing vaccinations such as medical officers, vaccination officers, alternative vaccination officers, cold chain operators, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators are initiated both physically and via digital platforms. In addition, national and state trainers’ training seminars (ToT) have also been completed, he added.

Bhushan also talked about the negative effects of the vaccine, especially in pregnant women and children. “Adverse events following immunization are a critical problem. When we embark on a universal immunization program, which has been done for decades, we see some adverse effects in children and pregnant women after vaccination, “he said.

The Secretary of Health advised EU states and territories to be ready to handle such situations as these effects had already occurred in the UK on the first day of their vaccination campaign. It also stated that 23 ministries and departments of the Center and states have been identified and assigned to roles such as planning, implementation, social mobilization, awareness generation, among others, for vaccine launch.

The announcement comes a few days after the Center said the vaccination campaign was just a few months away. Union Health Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said initially only 100 people a day would receive the injection, but eventually all would be vaccinated. “We will begin the process of dispatching the equipment necessary for the storage and management of the coronavirus vaccine to the United States. For now, only 100 people a day will receive the vaccine in a booth. Eventually, everyone will receive the vaccine,” he said. .

Vaccine containers, vaccine vials and ice packs must be kept strictly out of direct sunlight according to the “Covid-19 Vaccine Operating Guidelines”. “There may be no vaccine vial monitor (VVM) and Expiry 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 must be sent back to the cold chain distribution point, ”the guidelines state.

Officials said 36 states and Union territories have already concluded meetings of the state steering committees and the state task force, and 633 districts have concluded those of the district task force.

According to the guidelines recently issued to the states, the Covid-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system – a digitized platform – will be used to monitor the beneficiaries enrolled for vaccination and coronavirus vaccines in real time.

The vaccine will first be offered to all health care professionals and frontline and people over the age of 50. For seniors, there may be subdivisions such as those aged 50 to 60 and those over 60, with priority given to the most vulnerable based on vaccine availability. In the first phase of the campaign, the vaccination of 300 million people was planned.

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

(With agency input)