Health workers in Himachal to get Covid vaccine first, says expert

Health workers in Himachal to get Covid vaccine first, says expert

Himachal has the infrastructure ready for Covid-19 immunisation as and when the vaccine becomes available.

* State readies infra for immunisation

* First-phase beneficiaries being identified

Subhash Rajta

Tribune News Service

Shimla, November 1

The state has the infrastructure ready for Covid-19 immunisation as and when the vaccine becomes available. “Health workers will be administered the vaccine first and the state is close to identifying the first-phase beneficiaries. Besides, cold chain and session sites are in place and vaccinators have been identified,” said Director, National Health Mission, Nipun Jindal.

“We have set October 31 as the deadline for identifying all beneficiaries. The process is on in all districts,” said Jindal, adding that the list would include only the healthcare workers, not their families.

As per the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) guidelines, the healthcare beneficiaries have been divided into nine categories, namely frontline health workers (ANMs, ASHA, MPWS etc), nurses and supervisors (staff nurse, PHN, LHV), medical officers (allopaethic and Ayush doctors, dentists etc), paramedical staff (lab technicians, OTT, pharmacist, radiographers etc), support staff (drivers, security, sanitation workers etc), students (medical, dental, nursing), scientists and research staff, clerical and administrative staff and other health staff.

Besides the identification of the beneficiaries, the other components of the immunisation plan are establishing cold chain for storing the vaccine, session sites where it will be administered and vaccinators for administering the dose. “Currently, we have 371 cold chain points in addition to one state vaccine store, two regional vaccine stores, and 12 district vaccine stores,” said Jindal.

The state has a total of 4,313 session sites where the vaccine will be administered – 977 are fixed sites in healthcare facilities while 3,336 have been identified as outreach session sites, in schools for example. Kangra has the maximum sites (823), followed by Mandi (611) and Shimla (487). As for vaccinators, the crucial part of the jigsaw, there are 3,702 vaccinators and 2,859 vaccinators-cum-supervisors.

We have been told to expect the vaccine any time early next year. At the moment, trails are on within the country on nine candidate vaccines, and on 248 across the globe,” said Jindal.

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