Over 28k Cold Chain Points, 700 Refrigerator Vans and 700 Admins to Distribute Vaccine: Health Ministry

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The Union Health Ministry informed on Tuesday that the country has more than 28,000 cold chain points, 700 plus refrigerator vans and more than 70,000 vaccinators to assist in the vaccine administration.

"We have already utilised them under the universal immunisation programme and they would be used in the administration of Covid vaccine as well," said Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan.

Bhushan also informed that the national expert group on Covid-19 vaccine is engaging with corporate healthcare providers to take the assistance of their workforce which could help in vaccine administration.

He was speaking in a press briefing on the status of preparations for the rollout of Covid-19 vaccine slated to begin by the first quarter of 2021.

Bhushan also said that all states and Union Territories (UTs) have been asked to only follow the directions given by the national expert group set up to look after vaccine administration, and not to act upon themselves.

"All states and UTs have assured their compliance to our directions," he added.

Bhushan also said that the states have been asked to prepare databases of different priority population groups.

"We have guided them about the methods and templates to prepare the databases," he said.

Another direction given to the states is to constitute a group under the chief secretary to check the compliance of the guidelines issued by the Centre.

A week ago, the union health ministry had written to all the states and UTs and asked them to constitute three-tier committees to check the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine once it rolls out.

The three-tier committees would comprise the state steering committee, state task force, and district task force in each state and UT. The state steering committee would be headed by the chief secretary, the state task force would be headed by the principal secretary (health), while the district task force would be led by the district magistrate.

Meanwhile, the Centre has asked the states and UTs to take stock of the cold chain and deep refrigerators as well.

"This will reveal granular details and would enable us to plan and execute the administration program more efficiently," Bhushan said.