J&K starts ground work for COVID19 vaccination

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Orders have been issued for preparation of cold-chain and stocking of syringes by J&K government as part of the preparatory activities for introduction of COVID19 vaccine in J&K.

Last week a high-level task force to oversee various activities for procurement, introduction and administering of COVID19 vaccine here was constituted. The 13-member committee has been tasked to do planning and ensure smooth introduction of the vaccine here. The task force is headed by Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education. Similar, micro-level task forces have also been created.

A senior health official said that while it was not known when exactly the vaccine would be available in J&K, the task force was looking at getting the supplies over the third week of December. He said following a meeting of the Union Health ministry officials with J&K and other states and union territory officials, orders had also been issued for creating warehouses for storage of AD syringes at district level.

“We are expecting a consignment of AD syringes in the first week of December only,” the official said. “These syringes will be used by COVID19 vaccination plan.”

The official said that 80,000 healthcare workers would be the first recipients of the vaccine in J&K. He said that the task force was in the process of inspecting cold chain facilities across districts for storage of the vaccine as and when it arrives.

The official said that there were concerns that COVID19 vaccination programme might affect routine immunization programme and efforts were underway to identify additional resources to minimize that.

“Multiple agencies and government departments will be roped in to help in logistics and administering of the vaccine,” he said. “It is a huge challenge.”

Currently, a number of states are participating in trials of Covaxin made by Bharat Biotech in partnership with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). A number of private pharma companies have also started the process of conducting clinical trials in India.