‘From Andhra Pradesh to Assam’: How states are gearing up for Covid-19 vaccination
State governments across the country are waiting for instructions from the Centre on when to start the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Close to 300 million frontline workers are expected to get the vaccine dose in the first phase.
State government health officials said that in the second phase those above 50 and with co-morbidities would be given vaccine. To prepare for the vaccination, the state government officials said the data of frontline workers have been updated on the Central government portal. The officials said that various task forces have been set to implement the Centre’s guidelines on vaccination.
Here’s a quick look at the level of preparedness ahead of the vaccination drive across states:
Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said the state administration is waiting for a communication from the Centre on the availability of the Covid-19 vaccine and has done pre-runs for administering it. “The approval for Serum Institute of India’s vaccine is only for emergency use and is subject to the consent of the patient, which means no one else would be held responsible for any health complications, if any, post-vaccination,” he said.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, chairman, communicable diseases prevention control and technical committee said the state has started preparing list of 7,58,000 Covid warriors, who will receive the vaccination in the first phase. “A detailed district-wise list of health care providers have been provided to the Centre on its Co-WIN app,” he said, adding that state will additionally provide vaccine to 30 million people.
Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the state vaccination task force, said, the Centre is expected to procure the vaccine and distribute to states. “By when will this process start, we don’t know,” he said.
Health minister Raghu Sharma said the state is fully prepared to execute vaccination from developing centres and ambulance service will be available at all the centres in case of any adverse reaction. “We have conducted dry-run at 19 places including Jaipur and even at private hospitals,” he said. Sharma said that the Centre is yet to communicate on the number of vaccines, its cost, and the procurement procedure.
Health officials in Assam said around 1.5 lakh healthcare workers and frontline staff registered with the government would be administered the vaccine in the first phase which will begin most likely in February. “We have not received any confirmation from the Centre on the number of vaccine doses that Assam would get,” said S Lakshmanan, director, National Health Mission, Assam. He said the state governments cannot directly purchase the medicines.
Dr K Sudhakar, medical education minister, Karnataka, said all corona warriors will be administered the vaccine in the first phase free of cost. “We will also use the existing infrastructure and the Centre will augment the additional infrastructure as required,” he said. The minister said that the vaccine is expected to be available in January itself. “We are awaiting directions from the Centre on next steps,” he said.
According to Punjab’s Covid nodal officer, Dr Rajesh Bhaskar, as of now, there is no information when will the vaccine be administered. “State has also not received any tentative plan either,” he said, adding the state has already submitted data of 1.6 lakh frontline workers to the Centre. Health secretary Hussan Lal said the vaccine will be given to about 70 lakh people in a phased manner.
Chhattisgarh is waiting for Centre’s nod to start the vaccination drive. 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 vaccine would be given to 2.54 lakh registered health functionaries in the state,” he said.
Kuldeep Singh Martoliya, state’s nodal officer for Covid-19 vaccination said that the Uttarakhand government is expecting to receive vaccines from the Central government soon. “We have been assured that vaccines will be provided to us by early 2021. Uttarakhand government has shared the data of over 94,000 health care workers with Centre,” he said, adding that in the second phase, they will share data of citizens above the age of 50 and with co-morbidities.
About 4.5 lakh health workers will be administered vaccines at primary health centres, community health centres and district hospitals, said the nodal officer for vaccination Dr Santosh Shukla. He said more than 2,000 ice-lined refrigerators have been provided for storage of vaccines.
“Whenever we receive the vaccines we will start the inoculation process within the next two days,” he said, adding that all dry runs have been successful and vaccination will be done by maintaining social distancing norms.
The Haryana health department will conduct a dry run across the state on January 7 as a precursor to the Covid-19 vaccine roll out to test preparedness. The department has already identified 19,000 vaccination session sites and about 5,145 vaccinators have been mapped for the process of administering the vaccine.
Additional chief secretary (ACS), health, Rajeev Arora said, “The number of vaccines available and priority groups would depend on the Central government. We will expeditiously roll out the vaccine as soon as it is made available,” he said. Data of 1.9 lakh health care workers have been uploaded on the ‘CoWIN’ portal.” He added the vaccination drive will continue for over a year.
Around 4.39 lakh healthcare workers will be vaccinated in Bihar and 14,724 vaccinators have been identified so far, said health minister Mangal Pandey, adding the state is in the process of giving last-minute training to its vaccinators and immunisation officers. “The picture will be clear later this week,” said a Bihar government officer requesting anonymity. Around 20 million people of the state’s 120 million are expected to get the vaccine in the first phase.
Close to 2.5 lakh health workers will be vaccinated in the first phase. State health official said that every district would have a vaccine distribution centre from where the vaccines would be sent in refrigerated vans to block community health centres for vaccination.
Health secretary J Radhakrishnan said that six lakh health workers will get the vaccine once the Centre informs them about when the vaccination drive would start. “The Centre has instructed to hold dry runs in the states, which is being done in five districts,” he said. Over 2,000 personnel and 100 people for vaccination are participating in the dry run, he said. The secretary also said that the over 5,000 refrigerated facilities have been created for storing the vaccine.
Health commissioner Katamaneni Bhaskar said there is no information from the Centre on when the vaccination for Covid-19 should start and how much doses would be made available to the state. Another official of the health department, who refused to be quoted said, the state was likely to get 1.70 lakh vaccine vials in the first phase and efforts were being made for cold-chain management, which was the most crucial part of storage and distribution.
Health minister Eatala Rajender said the Centre might supply five lakh doses in the first phase, which would be ramped up in the subsequent phases. An official familiar with the development said the registration process for the vaccine is expected to start in the second week of January. The government is setting up 10,000 vaccination centres all over the state. The vaccination for healthcare and frontline warriors is expected to be completed within three days.
Additional chief secretary, health, Amit Mohan Prasad said, nine lakh health care workers have been enrolled in the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination drive. Chief minister Yogi Aditynath on Sunday said the Covid-19 vaccine is likely to be available in Uttar Pradesh around Makar Sankranti - January 14.
Officials said the district magistrates have been asked to constitute district task force, tehsil task force and block task force to review the vaccination drive in the respective areas. The Uttar Pradesh government is creating 2,03,938 litre space for cold chain maintenance at temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccines, said a state health department officer.
Health minister KK Shailaja said there was no official information from the union government when the vaccine vials will be made available to the state but it said the state was fully geared up to carry out the massive drive. “Our strategy was to delay the peak and restrict casualties and we succeeded in both. Since the state’s density of population is quite high and so is the prevalence of high incidences of lifestyle disease, we need to get more vaccines in the first stage itself. We have informed the Union health ministry about this,” said Shailaja.