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Rajiv Gandhi hospital to double up as Covid vaccine storage centre

Dr Sherwal said the centre, which will occupy a space of about 5,000 square metres, is likely to be made functional by mid-December. The decision was taken following a review of the building by a team of the National Health Mission.

Written by Sourav Roy Barman | New Delhi | Updated: November 27, 2020 2:19:21 pm
The hospital is located in Tahirpur, near East Delhi's Dilshad Garden. (Express Photo: Amit Mehra/File)

A three-storey building in the premises of the Delhi government-run Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital will be converted into a Covid-19 vaccine storage centre, hospital director Dr B L Sherwal told The Indian Express Thursday.

Dr Sherwal said the centre, which will occupy a space of about 5,000 square metres, is likely to be made functional by mid-December. The decision was taken following a review of the building by a team of the National Health Mission.

The hospital is located in Tahirpur, near East Delhi’s Dilshad Garden.

Dr Sherwal said the three-storey utility block of the hospital, which has 500 beds for Covid-19 patients, has been found suitable to be used as a vaccine storage facility by the Centre: “They require about 5,000 square metres of space. The entire building will be used and is likely to be made operational by December 15-16.”

The building’s electricity feed will be modified to meet the requirements of refrigerators that will be used to store the vaccine. While the ground and first floors will be initially used by the National Health Mission, the second floor is also likely to be utilised by them, Dr Sherwal said.

The Centre had recently asked states and union territories to review cold storage and refrigerated vans used for the already existing universal immunisation programme. Under the programme, around 28,000 cold chain points are used, along with 700 refrigerated vans.

Five vaccine candidates are in various stages of trial in India under the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Zydus Cadila, Russian Sputnik – V in collaboration with Dr Reddy and Biological E respectively.

Serum Institute of India, which is testing and manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate, has said it will apply for emergency marketing authorisation of the vaccine in a little over a month. The vaccine being manufactured by them can be stored at temperatures between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius.

The Centre has also drawn up a plan under which the first dose of vaccine, whichever candidate is available, will first be administered to 1 crore healthcare workers across the country.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had also made a similar suggestion recently. “The distribution plan is being drafted by the Centre. If they seek my suggestion, I would say everyone is equal and every life is important. Corona warriors should be picked for the first dose so that they continue to fight the pandemic with courage. Then, vulnerable segments like senior citizens should be covered followed by those with co-morbid conditions,” he had said at a media conclave.

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