Representative image: Reuters
Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said Delhi has sufficient infrastructure and equipment to vaccinate its entire population in a few weeks once a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
"There is no need to worry about storage of vaccines. We have a large number of health care facilities, such as mohalla clinics, poly clinics, and hospitals etc, where a COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to people," Jain told reporters.
"Once a vaccine is available, we can vaccinate the entire population of Delhi in a few weeks," the minister said.
Jain also said Delhi should be given priority during the distribution of the vaccine as it is the national capital.
A three-storeyed building on the premises of Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital has also been identified for storage of COVID-19 vaccines.
On Thursday, Delhi's Immunization Officer Suresh Seth had said the national capital is geared up for the COVID-19 vaccination programme and the city's entire population can be covered in a month.
"We have 600 cold storage points and around 1,800 outreach sites for the universal immunization programme for children. We have sufficient equipment for vaccines that can be stored at a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius and those that need minus 15 to minus 25 degrees Celsius. The central government is further strengthening the infrastructure and providing more equipment," Seth had told PTI.
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He had said the equipment and infrastructure for vaccines that need ultra-cold conditions (minus 70 degrees Celsius) are not there, but "we don't think there will be any problem logistically because the immunization programme will be carried out in a phased manner".
"If we involve hospital staff and nurses etc., we can easily vaccinate the entire population in a month," he had said, adding that at present, the Delhi government is collecting data of health care workers who are at top of the priority list of the Delhi government.
"If a vaccine is available, we can administer it to all healthcare workers in just three days... We have sufficient equipment and cold storage space, we are geared up. We won't let Delhi falter," Seth stressed.
Meanwhile, Jain said the COVID-19 positivity rate in the national capital has decreased by 45 per cent since November 7.
"The positivity rate for RT-PCR tests was 30 per cent on November 7. It has come down to 15.84 percent. The positivity rate for rapid-antigen tests has reduced to 2.61 per cent from 8.39 per cent a few days ago," Jain said.
"The overall positivity rate has reduced by 45 per cent. While the number of RT-PCR tests has been increasing fast, the positivity rate has been decreasing rapidly," the minister said.
Jain said the number of tests being conducted in Delhi was around three times the national average.
The minister also said the number of COVID-19 cases in Delhi has remained below the 7,000 mark for seven consecutive days.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.