Gujarat forms task force to oversee COVID-19 vaccine drive

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Gandhinagar, Dec 28 (PTI) The Gujarat government on Monday formed a four-member task force to oversee the mass vaccination drive in the state once a vaccine against COVID-19 is made available for inoculation.

The task force, set up by the Health and Family Welfare Department, consists of renowned pediatricians Dr Naveen Thacker and Dr Nishchal Bhatt, immunology expert Dr Sapan Pandya and Dr Bhadresh Vyas of Jamnagar Medical College and Hospital, said a government release.

Addressing their maiden press conference, the task force members urged people not to worry about vaccine and discard rumours which claim that the potential shot will change their DNA.

'It is a misconception that vaccines will create serious side effects. It is normal to experience some fever or weakness after getting a vaccine.

'Many people have already taken vaccines in some countries, but no one has developed any serious complications yet. People should not worry at all,' said Thacker.

For the first phase of the vaccine drive, the department has identified 4.31 lakh health workers, 6.93 lakh frontline workers, 1.03 crore citizens above the age of 50 and 2.67 lakh citizens below 50 but with severe co-morbidities such as thalassemia (a blood disorder) and heart ailments, said Principal Secretary, Health, Jayanti Ravi.

The current vaccine storage infrastructure, consisting of 2,195 cold chain points, in the state can store up to 1 crore doses of a coronavirus antidote, she said.

Ravi said the state machinery is ready to start the mass vaccination drive upon getting the green signal from the Centre. PTI PJT PD RSY RSY