The West Bengal government has asked all state-run and private medical establishments to send details of frontline health care workers (HCWs) and other staff who would be administered COVID-19 vaccine on a priority basis, an official said on Thursday.
All medical establishments like medical colleges (allopathic, homoeopathic and AYUSH), health centres, private healthcare units and polyclinics have been asked to send the list of workers, the senior official of the Health department told .
"The HCWs like frontline health workers, ASHA, supervisors/ facilitators, Anganwadi workers (AWWs), nurses and supervisors, health supervisors, block extension educators, medical officers (allopathic doctors), teaching and non-teaching staff and doctors on administrative posts), AYUSH doctors, dentists will be given priority," he said.
Paramedical staff -- all technicians, pharmacist, physiotherapist, radiographer, ward boys, other paramedical staff as well as scientists, research staff, students medical, dental, AYUSH, nursing and paramedical students working in the facilities, support staff and the clerical and administrative staff will also be included in the list, he said.
"We have sent the guidelines for the healthcare workers database for COVID-19 vaccination and the excel form which is required to be filled up to mention names and other details of frontline health workers to all medical facilities in the state. One excel sheet can have details of at least 1,000 health care workers," he said.
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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The Mission Director of National Health Mission will be the nodal officer to coordinate this exercise, the official added.
"In the districts, the District Magistrate along with the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) will be responsible for completing all data collection activities within the specified timelines," he said.
As of now, the West Bengal government is aiming mid- November to hand over the complete details of all the health workers working in both private and state-run medical establishments in the state to the Centre.
The selected individuals will be given COVID-19 vaccine.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan earlier this month had said that the Centre is planning to vaccinate about 25 crore people against novel coronavirus by July next year.
He had also said that priority would be given to health workers engaged in COVID-19 management in getting inoculated and asserted the Centre would ensure fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, once they are ready.Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.