Bengaluru is preparing to administer the coronavirus vaccine, expected in early 2021, to large numbers of citizens.
Many questions remain about the vaccine and its storage, but the government is now drafting a standard operating procedure, according to Dr K Sudhakar, health and medical education minister.
“Multiple vaccine candidates are in different stages of development. We don’t know who will get a licence, as meeting scientific and regulatory requirements is a must,” he told Metrolife.
Who gets it first?
Protecting the health system and reducing deaths is the primary goal of vaccination, he says.
“As WHO says, frontline workers in health care settings, people over 65, and people under 65 with underlying conditions that put them at higher risk are the tiers of priority, and in that order,” says Sudhakar.
According to a provisional plan for Phase 1, the central government is looking at vaccinating 30 crore people (600 million doses), including one crore healthcare workers, two crore frontline workers, and 26 crore citizens.
Not everyone may need a vaccine, which means it may not be mandatory. Even the length of protection is uncertain and a booster dose may be required after some time, he adds.
Sudhakar says the vaccine roll-out might take a year or more.
“We will utilise the experience of elections and universal immunisation programmes and ensure people’s participation,” he says.
The central health ministry, in consultation with state governments, has already assessed the additional requirement of chain cold storage, he says.
He hopes a made-in-India, safe, effective and affordable vaccine will soon be a reality.
In each booth
Vaccination booths will be like election booths. Each booth will have two vaccinators, one assistant for maintaining data and records, one assistant for logistics, and two or three people for crowd management, according to Dr K Sudhakar, health minister.