J&K has started moving the healthcare apparatus to facilitate the first round of COVID19 vaccination for the general population. People aged over 50 years and those with underlying diseases will be given the shot initially.
Union health ministry in a communication dated 19 February, has directed J&K and other states, union territories to devise an operational strategy for vaccination of elderly population and persons with co-morbidities. For the purpose, J&K government is mulling to open up more vaccination sites across districts to increase the volume of vaccines administered per day.
A senior official in health and medical education department said that the vaccination for frontline workers will go ahead simultaneously with this new target group and this has necessitated more vaccine sites and vaccinators. “We have directed that all public health facilities, including CHCs and most likely PHCs also, will be offering the vaccine in their respective areas,” he said.
He said that the government was looking at a “major expansion” in vaccination in J&K and measures were being taken to ensure “safe and effective” drive.
State Immunization Officer, Dr Qazi Haroon said the department had identified 1090 vaccination sites prior to the start of the country-wide COVID19 vaccination on 16 January. He said till date only around 300 of these had been put to use.
“We can do a threefold expansion of vaccination sites immediately while we embark on the new drive on 06 March,” he said.
He said 2 lakh people, healthcare workers and frontline workers in other categories had been vaccinated in J&K till 20 February. The next four days will be mop-up rounds for those who missed their shots, Dr Haroon said.