PMC stares at staff and machinery shortage as polio and Covid vaccine drives overlap
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is likely to face a staff shortage as it is planning to begin the annual pulse polio immunisation program in tandem with the large-scale Covid vaccine drive.
India is yet to be declared a polio-free country; however, the massive pulse polio drive has gained accolades around the globe. The pulse polio drive aims to target around 3.08 lakh kids in the city alone and amidst the Covid-19 vaccination program, which is likely to go on for months, the civic body is now planning for vaccine carriers and storage facilities for both large scale immunisation programs and manpower requirements.
The pulse polio drive will begin on January 17 and will go on until January 22, 2020 during which the civic body will vaccinate 3.08 lakh kids. The first day round will primarily include vaccinating kids at the booths set up in various places while on the remaining days, kids would be vaccinated through home-to-home immunization, railway stations, bus stops and other crowded places. The civic body will have around 1,500 booths dedicated to the polio vaccine and will need 4,500 personnel to man these booths. The PMC has estimated it would need 25 cold chain equipment and 520 vaccine carriers.
The city task force meeting which met to discuss the polio immunisation drive listed the major challenges involved this year would be a shortage of manpower as schools and colleges are shut and also there is an urgent requirement of vaccine carriers. As a solution, the task force recommended that the other PMC departments especially the solid waste management and women and child departments can supply volunteers.
Dr Archana Patil, director health services, Maharashtra said, “We do not know exactly as to when the Covid-19 vaccination would start but we are preparing for our annual polio immunization program which runs for about five days and covers one crore kids in the state. We have enough cold storage capacity, walk-in freezers, walk-in coolers, ice-laced refrigerators, and vaccine carriers, but they would be engaged for the polio drive. Covid vaccination would eventually cover the entire population and would go on for months.”