BMC has devised a vaccine distribution strategy for around 40% population of the city that has been tagged as vulnerable.(REUTERS)
BMC has devised a vaccine distribution strategy for around 40% population of the city that has been tagged as vulnerable.(REUTERS)

BMC to procure deep freezers to store Covid-19 vaccine at storage facility in Kanjurmarg near Mumbai

The multi-purpose deep freezers, according to BMC officials, will be suitable for all under-trial vaccines, which require temperatures between -80 and 8 degrees Celsius
By Mehul R Thakkar, Mumbai
UPDATED ON DEC 02, 2020 11:56 PM IST

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to procure multi-purpose deep freezers for its proposed vaccine storage centre in Kanjurmarg to store Covid-19 vaccines, once they are available. The multi-purpose deep freezers, according to BMC officials, will be suitable for all under-trial vaccines, which require temperatures between -80 and 8 degrees Celsius.

“We have sought opinion from certain experts on procurement of deep freezers, and after getting it, we will be in a position to float bids any time this week or next. The plan is to float bids for setting up of a cold storage centre in Kanjurmarg. The location was chosen considering it is central located. For now, we are going to occupy one floor in a five-storey building owned by BMC, and further on as need arises, we will use more space,” said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.

According to BMC officials, the civic body’s six medical institutions currently have deep freezers of all types of configuration to store vaccines, but they plan to set up a dedicated cold storage centre for Covid-19 vaccines.

“The primary target for vaccine distribution is going to be the 1.25 lakh frontline workers. They will be given a vaccine first, and this preparedness at Kanjurmarg is being done for that. After them, it will be senior citizens, but the Central and state governments will issue guidelines on this. Also, participation by private health institutions will be required if we are talking about vaccinating complete cities, but again the government will issue guidelines on all this. The priority for now is frontline workers,” said Kakani.

The Central government, two months ago, has already formed an expert committee comprising representatives from all relevant ministries and institutions, and the state government has also announced formation of a task force to oversee all aspects of its Covid-19 vaccine plan – from identification of the vaccine to buying to financing the purchase to distribution and administration.

The BMC, on its part, already has devised a vaccine distribution strategy for around 40% population of the city that has been tagged as vulnerable.

Dr Madhav Sathe, former professor of Microbiology at Nair Hospital, said, “Making availability of deep freezers is the right step for now. It is very clear that the first focus will be frontline workers followed by senior citizens… Also, once we start vaccination of vulnerable population, the risk and positivity will start falling down, and the spread will be restricted. Fortunately we have excellent systems in place for mass vaccination due to a well-planned health delivery system. Covid-19 vaccination will be a massive and challenging task as people will need to take two shots. By 2021, we should vaccinate at least 50-60% of the total population in Mumbai.”

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