The central government has asked states to assess their cold chain needs in relation to the Covid-19 vaccine doses they would receive, warning of the need for infrastructure push and last-mile monitoring even when the health ministry has submitted its own assessment. .
“We have asked the states that if they receive a certain amount of vaccine, they should assess at their level what their cold chain requirement would be,” Rajesh Bhushan, secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday.
According to health ministry estimates, 29,000 cold chain points, 240 inlet coolers, 70 inlets, 45,000 ice-cold refrigerators, 41,000 refrigerators and 300 solar refrigerators will be needed as the vaccine is developed across the country.
“Apart from this, more equipment will be made available to the states as per their requirement,” Bhushan added.
The government has also identified 23 ministries and departments at the central and state levels, and has assigned roles for planning, implementation, social mobilization and awareness. Task forces at 633 districts also held meetings on vaccine management.
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The urgent use authorization of Covid-19 vaccines will not disrupt the timeline of its development for the public, as the government has already taken this into account, said VK Paul, a member of Niti Aayog. “We have considered the time it will take. We look forward to a good decision soon, ”he said.
The health ministry has also issued guidelines to monitor any adverse events. Once it receives market authorization, the vaccine will reach phase 4 of development, where the manufacturer will have to ensure control of any adverse reaction.
“This is an adult vaccine and these are new platforms … We have to be very responsible. Vaccines are being examined on a scientific basis and regulators will seek more than reasonable satisfaction to give approval,” Paul said.
The expert committee of the General Controller of Medicines of India is reviewing three vaccine candidates – the Covishield vaccine from Serum Institute developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, and the shot developed by the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer together with the German BioNtech .
Paul added that although it has ensured that the number of cases has decreased in India, there is still the possibility of a second or third wave, as witnessed in the West. “Lambi ladai hai (the battle is long),” he said.
The number of cases per million in India is low (7,178) compared to the global average of over 9,100. At 104, the deaths per million inhabitants and the death rate of 1.45 per cent in India are also lower than in most large countries.