Govt. preparing for increased vaccination from May 1

With the Union government allowing all adults to get vaccinated from May 1, the State government is preparing to increase its capacity to store, deliver and administer vaccine doses.

For large districts such as Belagavi, this means a 10-fold increase in logistics arrangements.

When the Centre fixed the age limit for people to receive the vaccine at 60, the State government fixed a target of 4.4 lakh in the district. But if all adults are to be vaccinated, then the district administration will have to provide vaccine shots to 35 lakh people.

Health Department officers say that this is a tall order, as this would be the largest vaccination drive ever taken up in the district. โ€œThe biggest vaccination drive till now has been Pulse Polio when around 16 lakh children were vaccinated. The current target would be double that number. We need to work on storage, transport and delivery,โ€™โ€™ a senior health officer said.

โ€œAs of now, we have 228 vaccination centres across the district. They include 200 government facilities and 28 private hospitals. This means we have one vaccination centre for two gram panchayats. But if we are to vaccinate every adult, we need four vaccination centres for every gram panchayat. We need to set up temporary vaccination centres in primary health centres or the gram panchayats,โ€™โ€™ another officer said.

โ€œThe most important factor is maintaining the cold chain. In many of the 506 gram panchayats, there is no 24-hour power supply. This means the vaccine will be rendered ineffective. We need temporary power back-up or other arrangements,โ€ he added.

On Wednesday, Regional Commissioner Amlan Aditya Biswas and Deputy Commissioner K. Harish Kumar held a meeting with officers on increasing the rate of tests. They also spoke of increasing the capacity of vaccination in a phased manner. Another series of meetings is lined up this week to prepare for mass vaccination from May 1, Mr. Kumar said.

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