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Health Ministry charts out preparatory activities for Covid-19 vaccine roll-out

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Health Secretary reviews Covid situation in 5 states, UTNew Delhi, Dec 8 (IANS) From line-listing of prioritised groups, strengthening cold chain infrastructure to adding more vaccinators, the Union Health Ministry on Tuesday charted out list of preparatory activities which are being carried out by it in collaboration with states and union territories for roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine.

Addressing the press conference, Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan listed out six consultative process and five key strategies the government is adopting to roll out the most-awaited vaccination for the disease, which has wreaked havoc worldwide.

The preparatory activities involves line-listing of prioritised population groups for Covid-19 vaccination, multi-level coordination mechanism, strengthening of cold chain infrastructure, additional vaccinators, communication strategy on vaccine safety, effectiveness etc and Co-WIN, a digital platform for vaccination delivery.

Health Ministry Secretary said that 30 crore people have been listed on prioritised population groups, which involves one crore of healthcare workers, two crores personnel from police department, armed forces, home guard, civil defence organisation and 27 crore people above age of 50 and below 50 with comorbidities.

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Secondly, the vaccines are temperature sensitive and need to be stored in specific temperature and hence cold chain system consists of 85,634 equipments for storage of vaccine at about 28,947 cold chain points across the country presently.

“The current cold chain is capable of storing additional quantity of Covid-19 vaccine required for first 3 Crore i.e. health care Workers and front-line Workers,” said Bhushan.

The Union Health Ministry also said that as many as 1.54 lakh vaccinators or auxiliary nurse midwifes will administer Covid-19 vaccine to people under the universal immunization programme when the vaccination process begins.

Besides this, key strategies involve orderly, smooth implementation driven by technology, no compromise of existing healthcare services, especially national programmes and primary care, utilisation of experience of elections and universal immunization programme, ensuring people’s participation and no compromise on scientific and regulatory norms,

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As many as eight vaccine candidates for COVID-19 are under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorisations in near future.

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It includes Astrazeneca and Oxford university developed and Serum Institute of India manufactured Covishield, Covaxin by Bharat Biotech Limited, ZyCoV-D by Zydus Cadila, Russian vaccine candidate Sputnik-V, NVX-CoV2373 by SII, HGCO19 by Geneva, and two unlabeled vaccines-Recombinant Protein Antigen based vaccine by Biological E Limited-and Inactivated rabies vector platform by Bharat Biotech.

Meanwhile, two vaccines candidates – Covishield and Covaxin – are in the third stage of clinical trials. They have applied for emergency use authorisation to the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). Their application is pending for the review which is expected to happen on Wednesday by the subject expert committee (SEC) for the vaccines.

However, the application for the emergency use authorization (EUA) of Covaxina and Covishied has followed after Pfizer’s BNT162b2 which was the first vaccine candidate to seek the EUA.

— IANS
aka/ash

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