Cold chain in 53 districts gives UP advantage in Covid-19 vaccination: Minister
Uttar Pradesh government is regularly reviewing the preparation of a robust cold chain infrastructure for storage of Covid-19 vaccine in the state’s 75 districts along with allocation of human resource and other logistical support required for vaccinating the state’s 23 crore plus population.
Chief minister Yogi Adityanath, on November 23, had directed officials to ensure that the state was not only ready with the cold chain infrastructure but also vaccinators in all districts by December 15. Health and family welfare minister Jai Pratap Singh is tasked with implementation of the task and is carrying out review in districts.
Singh said Uttar Pradesh had the advantage of existing good cold chain network in a majority of districts. He pointed out that the health and family welfare department had been organising various vaccination programmes, including those for polio, Japanese encephalitis (JE) and routine immunisation round the year.
Racing against time to meet the deadline, feedback on the state of the cold chain network, warehouses and transportation facilities, has been taken from district health departments. Singh added that funds had been allocated to all the districts to upgrade the existing system and ensure procurement of equipment and machines.
The cold chain stores were fully functional for the storage of Covid-19 vaccine in 53 districts and construction or expansion work has been ordered in the remaining 22 districts including Agra, Ambedkar Nagar, Azamgarh, Balrampur, Banda, Etah, Firozabad, Gonda, Gorakhpur, Jhansi, Kanpur, Lalitpur, Mainpuri, Mathura, Muzaffarnagar, Prayagraj, Rae Bareli, Saharanpur, Sant Kabir Nagar, Varanasi, Mirzapur and Bareilly. All the works would be completed before December 15, Singh said.
To strengthen the cold chain system, the state government has demanded 1,244 deep freezers and 115,635 vaccine carriers from the central government, which was being dispatched to the districts accordingly, the minister said.
Singh said training of 70,631 vaccinators, including laboratory technicians, pharmacists and ANMs (auxiliary nurse midwives) working in the state health department had started. If required, the health department would hire vaccinators on contract for the Covid vaccination programme, he said.
Addressing chief ministers on November 24, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stated that the central government was keeping track of vaccine development both inside and outside the country. The PM also said that the Centre will prepare a distribution strategy in coordination with the state governments.
In the first phase, frontline health workers, including doctors and paramedical staff will be vaccinated. The state government has directed all the district magistrates and chief medical officers (CMOs) to enlist public and private health workers on priority basis for the vaccination drive. In the second phase, vulnerable people, including senior citizens, are likely to be immunized. The final road map of the vaccination programme will be prepared before the launch of the Covid vaccination drive, Singh said.
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