UP races against time to build 2,03,938L cold chain storage for Covid-19 vaccine
The Uttar Pradesh government is aiming to create a cold chain storage capacity of 2,03,938 litres where temperature is maintained between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination. This 2.03 lakh litre capacity includes 87,801 litres of space ordinarily used for routine immunisation purposes.
The first phase of Covid-19 vaccination is expected to immunise over four crore people in the state with the focus on frontline corona warriors, including health workers. Uttar Pradesh has a population of about 23 crore.
So far, 80,733 litre of space has been created, according to official data. Now, work is going on in 75 districts for creating an additional cold chain storage of 1,23,205 litres.
1,16,137 litre of storage space has to be created for the first phase of Covid-19 vaccine delivery in December alone.
Construction work is going on in 22 districts for making exclusive vaccine depots, while repair work is under way in 27 other districts.
The target Covid population in each district is calculated in proportion to the state Covid population, which is seven times the number of beneficiaries for routine immunization. This is roughly equal to 20% of the districts’ population, according to state government officials.
There are 97,000 doctors registered in Uttar Pradesh and over 65,000 of them are active in practice, according to the state medical faculty data. Apart from the doctors, there are nurses, pharmacists, ward boys, lab technicians, cleaning staff and clerks working in hospitals. They are expected to be among the first to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
“We have not been told how many vaccine vials will be coming, but the infrastructure will be ready in time,” said Dr AP Chaturvedi, state immunisation officer. “Vaccines will come in batches and we will ensure they are dispatched from the depots,” he added.
“As soon as the vials arrive, they will be sent out from the depots for vaccination, making space for more batches to be stocked,” said another official.
Walk-in-freezers, walk-in-coolers, cold chain boxes and deep freezers are to be provided by the union government.
Who will be next after healthcare workers?
After the healthcare workers, people above 60 years of age could be vaccinated.
“The risk of complications from Covid-19 is up to 50% higher in the elderly and those with a comorbidity. As the majority of the elderly suffer from some type of comorbidity such as diabetes or high blood pressure, vaccinating them will be a wise decision,” said Dr Abhishek Shukla, secretary general, association of international doctors and an expert in geriatric medicine.
The elderly population in the state is over 6 crore including over 5 lakh elders in capital Lucknow. The vaccine storage equipment will have an electronic vaccine intelligence networking (EVIN) device that records temperatures in which vaccines are stored and if the range is broken, a message is sent via SMS to the authorities.
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