Gearing for first phase of COVID-19 vaccine shots, cold chains being put in place
New Delhi, Dec 09: India is gearing up with 28,947 cold chain points and 85,643 pieces of equipment across the country that are capable of storing vaccines needed for the first set of 3 crore health and frontline workers.
Additional vaccinators, a digital platform for vaccine delivery and a detailed implementation plan to inoculate a 30 crore priority population are being mobilised for the first phase.
It may be recalled that two top officials of Luxembourg headquartered B Medical Systems over the weekend held talks with senior government officials, scientists and diplomats on setting up a cold chain for COVID-19 vaccine.
The firm will set up a plant in India with its Indian partners and would look to supply specialised refrigerated vaccine transportation boxes and freezers. This is a big challenge as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shots, which was the first vaccine to be cleared for use by any government, needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below.
On the other hand the Moderna vaccine has been stored at minus 20 degree Celsius for shipping and longer-term storage of up to six months. However, it can be kept at regular refrigeration temperature up to 10. Days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday that the world is keeping a close watch on the safest and cheapest vaccine against COVID-19 and is looking towards India.
At an all-party meeting to discuss the COVID-19 situation in the country, the PM said, "our scientists are very confident of succeeding in their endeavour of making Covid vaccine. The world is keeping a watch on the cheapest and safe vaccine. That is why the world is watching India."
He also said that the Centre was in talks with the state governments over the price of the vaccine and the decision regarding the same will be taken keeping in mind public health.
Teams of Central and State governments are working together for vaccine distribution. India has the expertise & capacity in vaccine distribution & fare better compared to other nations. We have a very big & experienced network in the field of vaccination. We will fully exploit it," PM Modi also said.
The PM said that as soon as the scientists give the green signal, vaccination will start in India. The healthcare, frontline workers and elderly people suffering from serious diseases will be given the first priority, he also said.