Delhi and Mumbai are gearing up for Covid vaccination drives – from creating lists of priority groups to setting up cold storage units.
Sources have said the Delhi government is sending a list of nearly two lakh government and private sector healthcare workers who will get vaccinated in the first phase.
These include medical, paramedical, sanitation, security and administrative staff of allopathic, dental and Ministry of Ayush facilities. Staff members of diagnostic laboratories, radiology centres and physiotherapy clinics have also been included.
Nearly 4,000 names have been sent from Delhi’s LNJP Hospital – the largest government-run medical facility – ranging from doctors to security guards.
“In the last 3 weeks we have sent lists of doctors, paramedics and hospital workers to the government. We are fully ready to get all of them vaccinated. Sanitation workers, OT technicians and even security guards are on this list. A total 3,960 names have been sent,” Dr Suresh Kumar, the Medical Director at LNJP, told NDTV.
A three-story building at the Rajiv Gandhi Superspeciality Hospital is being prepped as the national capital’s primary cold storage facility for the vaccine doses. From here, they will be transported to 600 cold storage points across the city.
“Right now electrical and civil work is being done. Construction work is on. Passageways and doors here are being widened so that big deep freezers can be brought into the rooms. Electrical work is being done to create centralised air-conditioning,” Dr BL Sherwal, the Medical Director of the Rajiv Gandhi Superspeciality Hospital, told NDTV.
The Covid vaccine developed by American pharma giant Pfizer needs to be stored at -70 degree Celsius. The vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University requires a temperature range between two and eight degrees Celsius.
“We are preparing to keep all range of freezers currently because different vaccines require different temperatures. The central government will be supplying these freezers to the state government and we will receive them in the coming weeks,” Dr Sherwal explained.
Meanwhile, in Mumbai the target is to first vaccinate around 1.25 lakh frontline workers.
The BMC (the Mumbai municipal corporation) has created a ten-member task force to oversee vaccination, and nearly 3,000 personnel are being trained to handle vaccine transportation.
In the initial phase, King Edward Memorial (KEM) and the Sion, Nair and Cooper hospitals have been selected for storage and vaccination. Refrigerators, ice boxes and special coolers are being ordered, with storage capacity for 60 lakh vials set as the target for now.
As in Delhi, hospitals (government and private) are prepared to store vaccines that need to be stored at varying temperatures.
“Proper storage facility is available at four of the BMC’s medical colleges. We can store at temperatures from two to eight degrees Celsius. If larger amounts of vaccines are available, a building in Kanjurmarg is ready,” Suresh Kakani, the Additional Municipal Commissioner and head of the Vaccine Task Force, told NDTV.
“There will also be a facility to maintain temperatures between -15 and -25 degrees Celsius also, so that we can store any type of vaccine,” he added.
“We have refrigerators, deep freezers whose temperature goes down to minus 85 degrees Celsius (since plasma components are kept at that temperature). The blood bank can also be used to store the vaccine,” Dr SL Jain, Chairman of the Central Blood Transfusion Committee at Fortis Hospital told NDTV.
In addition, the modalities of the next phase are also being worked out. In this phase state governments will collect pre-vaccination data for citizens over the age of 60. This will be followed by those between 50 and 59 years of age and have pre-existing illnesses.