The DCGI has approved Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covishield and indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in India.
The COVID-19 vaccine is likely to arrive in Delhi by early next week and robust preparations are underway to stock it in the required thermal environment and ensure effective roll-out of the inoculation exercise, sources said on Wednesday. The city government is creating a massive storage facility at the Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital (RGSSH) and the police administration has been informed about the imminent arrival of the vaccine lot.
"We are making robust preparations for the roll-out, and 621 cold chain facilities have been set up. The storage facility at RGSSH can stock about 50,000 vaccines. All arrangements being made there to keep it in temperature-controlled environment," a senior official said. One vial of the vaccine has about 4.6-5 ml capacity and contains on an average 8-10 doses, another official said.
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"We are expecting that the vaccine will arrive by next week, possibly by Tuesday. But which vaccine will come, we have not been told. Our storage can keep it at 2-8 degrees Celsius, so either of the two approved vaccines can be stored," a source said. India's drugs regulator has approved Oxford's COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
It paves the way for the roll out of at least two vaccines in the country in the coming days. A total of 1,000 vaccination centres will be set up in Delhi. About 600 centres will be set up in the first phase, for which work is underway in full swing, the officials said.
Dr Suneela Garg, public health expert and professor of excellence at Maulana Azad Medical College here, said the roll-out system will work akin to an electoral exercise. "Those who have registered themselves will get an SMS a couple of days prior to the day of vaccination, telling about the location of the centre and the date of vaccination," she said.
At every vaccination centre, there will be multiple booths, each to take a maximum of 100 people, said Garg, who is guiding the city government on the exercise. "Inside, every booth, one officer will check details and match them with those shown on the CoWIN app for people,following which the necessary documents will be checked and then they will be taken one by one for vaccination," she said.
There will be a nodal officer at each vaccination centre, officials said. The COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network or CoWIN app and its ecosystem will be used to manage and scale up the massive vaccination drive that is expected to begin soon across the country.
Everything will be fed to the database in real-time. Also, the person after being vaccinated will be kept under observation for any AEFI (adverse effect following immunisation), Garg said. She added that the process to monitor a person after vaccination is not new but a regular medical protocol.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday had said the city government has so far made preparations to vaccinate one lakh people in a day. The Delhi government is fully prepared to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccine to 51 lakh priority category persons in the city in the first phase of vaccination, the minister had said.
These include healthcare workers who will be the first to be inoculated against the coronavirus, followed by frontline workers, people aged above 50 years and those below 50 years who have co-morbidities, he added. Vaccination centres will either be hospitals or facilities linked to hospitals.
As part of the first phase, about three lakh healthcare workers and nearly six lakh frontline workers, totalling about nine lakh, will be the first ones to get the vaccine. The city government has announced that the vaccine will be provided to people in Delhi free of cost.