RANCHI: The state government started preparing for distributing and transporting a Covid-vaccine which is expected to be handed over to the state by next week. The government has identified almost one lakh health workers employed in public and private both sectors, said an official from the state health department.
Ravi Shankar Shukla, director National Health Mission (NHM) has said that the vaccination will happen basis the directive received from the Union ministry of health, which states frontline workers in the state will be on priority, especially those working in the health sector.
“We have already started the process of preparing for the distribution of the vaccine across the state. All steps will be taken in accordance with the directives we get from the ministry,” said Shukla, adding that Jharkhand has the experience of vaccinating around 1 crore individuals over a couple of months and the facilities have improved since the last vaccination drive was conducted in the tribal state.
While cold chain infrastructure in the state was adequate for routine immunisation, an increased demand for Covid-19 vaccine may require additional facilities and extra effort, says a source in the health department.
The state will have one state vaccine store, two regional vaccine stores, 24 district vaccine stories and at least 247 sub-district cold chain points. Apart from this, the government is establishing a new regional vaccine store in East Singhbhum, which would help run immunisation programmes against the Covid-19 virus.
The state health department has highlighted that the government had identified at least 30 new cold chain points for storage and distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine. The Centre has also assured the state a supply of additional ice lined refrigerators (ILR) for the purpose of vaccination.
Jharkhand has also completed state level training of trainers in collaboration with the National Cold Chain and Vaccine Management Resource Centre (NCCVMRC) on cold chain management for the vaccination process. Currently, the training is going on at the district level.
The availability of cold storage and transportation of the vaccine in vehicles that can maintain a below freezing point temperature are crucial as most of Covid-19 vaccines are said to be effective only at sub-zero temperatures.
Besides, at least 21 of 24 districts in the state have conducted district task force (DTF) meetings to plan the immunisation process. The government has conducted two rounds of Indian public standard health (IPHS) survey and the result of the third round in expected by the middle of December, health officials said.
Three vaccines are in various stages of clinical trials in the country and professionals believe that a Covid-19 vaccine could be ready in a few weeks, said PM Narendra Modi on Friday during a virtual all-party meeting.
The number of active cases in the state has dropped significantly this month, but the government may still have to deal with high demand for the vaccine, even in the interiors, sources said.