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India gearing up for COVID-19 vaccine roll-out, cold chain infrastructure being set up across the country

The Health Secretary said that the training modules for people like medical officers, vaccine officers, alternative vaccinator officers, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators have commenced both physically and via digital platforms.

Gearing up for the Covid-19 vaccine, India has prepared the blueprint in advance for storage and distribution whenever it is available. The Central government has chalked out a plan for cold chain infrastructure across the country.

Cold Chain infrastructure across the country planned by the central government

During a briefing yesterday, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the infrastructure planned by the government includes 29,000 cold chains, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep-freezers and 300 solar freezers. Bhushan told that the states that lack the infrastructure have already been provided with the equipment. Guidelines have been sent by the Centre to the states for estimating electrical and non-electrical cold chain equipment and their strengthening. “These guidelines would help the states and the Union Territories ascertain how much cold chain equipment they would require to safely preserve the vaccine they receive for inoculation”, said the Health Secretary.

Bhushan said that all the States and UTs have held meetings of their State Steering Committees, headed by Chief Secretaries and State Task Forces, headed by State Health Secretaries which were specifically set up for the purpose of vaccine management and administration. Similar meetings have been held by task forces set up in 633 districts for this purpose.

Training modules for people who will be handling the vaccines

About 23 central and state government ministries have been identified and assigned the task of planning, implementation, social mobilisation and spreading awareness on the Covid vaccine. The Health Secretary said that the training modules for people like medical officers, vaccine officers, alternative vaccinator officers, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators have commenced both physically and via digital platforms. The national and state Training of Trainers (ToTs) workshops have already been completed.

The government is planning to closely monitor any possible adverse event because this would be the first time that adults will be inoculated in such huge numbers. This situation is unprecedented because until now vaccines were usually administered to children in hospital settings. Vinod Paul, Member (Health), NITI Ayog said that considering the scale at which the vaccines will be administered across the country, a dedicated centre is required for monitoring and managing any serious adverse events. Every block will have a dedicated centre for managing any adverse event.

Lowest infections recorded since July

India has been doing well in terms of Covid infections since the last couple of days. On Monday India had recorded 22,022 new infections which was the lowest number of cases reported since July 2. 22, 065 cases of Covid were recorded yesterday taking the tally to 9.9 million. The death toll has reached 1,44,134 as on today. 94,56,416 persons have recovered from the infections so far while 3,30,335 cases are still active. The number of Covid infections remained under 30,000 today.

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