Health staff of PMC collect data of Covid-19 suspected patients.(HT PHOTO)
Health staff of PMC collect data of Covid-19 suspected patients.(HT PHOTO)

Maharashtra ready to start Covid-19 vaccination from January if Centre gives approval

At least 3 crore people, including healthcare workers, police and co-morbid patients will be administered vaccine from January, if the Centre gives the approval by the end of this month, says Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope
By Yogesh Joshi and Steffy Thevar
UPDATED ON DEC 18, 2020 04:17 PM IST

The coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine will be administered to people in Maharashtra only on the basis of strict invitation where the recipient will receive a message or phone call post which he will have to ascertain his identity, said Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Thursday.

Tope said that at least 3 crore people, including healthcare workers, police and co-morbid patients will be administered Covid-19 vaccine from January, if the Centre gives the approval by the end of this month.

“The government has made micro-level arrangements for vaccination. We plan to implement vaccination programme similar to the election process where a person will have to ascertain his identity and only then, he/she will be given the vaccine. We plan to either call or send a message to that person on the same day that he/she is likely to be vaccinated. This is to avoid any confusion and discrepancies,” said Tope while speaking to reporters.

According to the minister, three crore people have been identified for vaccination in the first phase. “If the Centre approves the vaccine this month, we can start the drive from January,” said Tope.

On the question of pricing, Tope asserted that the central government must give the Covid-19 vaccine to the people free of cost. However, if the Centre is not in a position to do so, then the state would think about distributing the vaccine for free.

Meanwhile in Pune, the civic body identified about 1.34 lakh people in the city who have various comorbidities and who will now be prioritised for the Covid-19 vaccination under the phase three vaccine roll out programme by the central government. These comorbid patients have been identified during the state survey of ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ of the 33.4 lakh people who were inspected. The civic body is now focusing on storing close to eight-10 lakh vaccine doses which could be stored in its ice laced refrigerators.

As per information from PMC’s health department, the survey was conducted between October 14 and October 24, about 9.91 lakh households were inspected in which 33.40 people were checked. Of those inspected, the survey found 1,34,465 people were found to have reported various comorbidities including diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Those with comorbidities have been preferred to get the vaccination as the fatality rate among this group is the highest.

PMC department health chief, Dr Ashish Bharti, said, “Although we do not have a walk-in cold storage facility, we have around 55 ice-laced refrigerators and 35 deep freezers which can totally store about three-five lakh doses. Also the state’s storage facility is located in Pune itself which will be helpful for us. Most of the vaccines need a storage temperature similar to other Universal Immunization Programme vaccines which is 2⁰ to 8⁰ C.”

As per the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) which has been constituted with representatives from across the country, the vaccination roll out would initially take place in three phases. The NEGVAC has prioritised health care workers (HCW), frontline workers (FLW) and persons with different age-groups for Covid-19 vaccination. HCWs include healthcare providers and workers in healthcare settings, FLWs includes personnel from state and central police department, armed forces, home guard and civil defense organisations including disaster management volunteers and municipal workers (excluding HCWs) and the prioritised age group would be people above age of 50 years and persons below 50 years with associated comorbidities.

The above 50 years of age group is further sub-categorised into those above 60 years of age and those aged between 50 and 60 years of age. Modalities for data collection of those below 50 year of age with age considered as on January 1, 2021, and those associated with any comorbid conditions.

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