The health ministry has issued guidelines to the state governments on the 'action' phase of the coronavirus immunisation programme that would involve 29,000 cold chain points and 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators. The guidelines refer to the logistics that will be involved in the vast inoculation programme in the country. Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan also stated that the country must also prepare for adverse events during the vaccination drive.
Bhushan said on Tuesday that India will use 29,000 cold-chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators for the vaccination drive. Twenty three ministries have been identified for the massive vaccination drive.
Bhushan also said that the ministry has prepared training modules for vaccinators, cold chain handlers and ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) coordinators.
Despite the preparations, Bhushan warned that one must prepare for adverse events too. "Adverse events following immunisation are a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunisation programme, which has been done for decades, then some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after vaccination," Bhushan said.
The Health Secretary said that in countries where the immunisation has already begun, especially the UK, adverse events took place on the very first day. He said that it is essential for the states and UTs to prepare for this too. In Britain two people reported adverse reactions on the first day, following which regulators asked people with a significant history of allergies to not take the Pfizer vaccine.
The ministry also added that COVID-19 deaths are on the decline and that the country seems to be doing very well. "We are saving lives but this cannot be taken for granted," it said. The ministry said that an overwhelming proportion of our population continues to remain very susceptible to coronavirus.