The Gujarat health department on Friday declared that health workers, whether government or private, and anyone associated with a health institution, including class four employees, will be considered on a priority basis when the vaccine for Covid-19 arrives. The same was also outlined to be the Central health ministry’s policy in a video conference on Friday. A national database to this effect is under works and the data entries in Gujarat are expected to be completed by October 31.
Director of the Gujarat National Health Mission (NHM), MA Pandya, told this paper that while an official communication had been sent to districts and municipal corporations regarding the collection of data for the database on October 21, “following a video conference today (Friday, with Central health ministry bureaucrats, addressed to all states), we have more clarity.” Pandya will be the state-level nodal officer in Gujarat with respect to vaccination-related activities.
However, he said that other aspects pertaining to pricing and dosage “will be decided later,” subject to the Central health ministry’s guidelines, and are not being considered at this point.
Meanwhile, The Indian Express spoke to Gujarat Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who also holds the health portfolio in the state, on Thursday, and inquired about the way ahead with respect to vaccine distribution or pricing. He said, “First, let’s wait for the vaccine to come, nothing is known about when it will come. We have not decided on any pricing yet; whatever guidelines shall be given by the Prime Minister, we will follow it. We have everything ready otherwise, but let more be known about the vaccine first.”
For building the database, information is being collected from the government, private health institutes, hospitals, corporate hospitals, medical colleges, AYUSH clinics and hospitals, dentists, general practitioners (allopathy/ AYUSH), etc. regarding the personnel working at the establishments. According to Pandya, only personal details are being collected and no medical records will be taken.
The database will also include those employed with the state’s 108 ambulance services, anganwadi staff, ward boys and housekeeping staff at health facilities. Pandya estimates that the personnel forming part of the database from Gujarat may number up to 4.5 lakh. Those a part of the database are expected to be the first beneficiaries of the vaccine.
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