In addition to hospitals, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to use jumbo Covid centres as vaccination facilities during the second phase when it is opened to more categories of essential workers after frontline workers have received it in phase one.
Eight jumbo Covid centres including at NSCI Dome in Worli, BKC, Nesco in Goregaon, and Dahisar were set up for Covid-19 patients to augment hospital facilities. The BMC has planned tentatively to keep 15 units of vaccine in each jumbo centre. However, the requirements of staff to run the immunization drive from these centres is yet to be worked out as it will depend on the quantity of vaccine received by Maharashtra and Mumbai.
“We will hire more nurses when these jumbo centres are ready for the immunization drive. In the second phase special hospitals of BMC will also be used for vaccination,” said Dr Mangala Gomare, Executive Health Officer of BMC.
Officials from the BMC said that since most of these Covid centres have very few patients they have lot of empty space where separate area can be created for vaccination drive. Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani said, “We will ensure that the Covid centre and vaccination centres are in separate areas and don’t have any contact with each other. The vaccination centre will be set up in empty spaces of jumbo centres as there are very few patients. In Mumbai 100 vaccine centres will be created.”
Many Covid centres are unoccupied with the falling infection rate in Mumbai. While there was a demand for shutting down these centres, the civic body has decided to continue them until March.
Dr Sheela Jagtap, immunisation officer in BMC, said so far 1,367 health workers have been trained in vaccination. “It is an ongoing process. Today we had a training session in Sion hospital. We will continue training exercises and increase trained manpower as and when required in second phase of immunisation,” Jagtap said.
In the first phase, health workers, including doctors, nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives, paramedics, will be vaccinated. In the second phase frontline workers like police, defence, municipal staff, BEST drivers and conductors will be immunised. Dr. Gomare said, “We will gradually increase the number of centres to include more peripheral hospitals and dispensaries.”
She added that they have no clarity on when the vaccine would be available in the market. “We are only the implementing authority. Our understanding is that the central government will provide vaccines for free for first and second phase of immunisation,” she said.
The civic body has said that each ward will also have dedicated Covid centres and in first phase about 10,000 people will be given vaccines daily and it will be increased up to 50,000 gradually. BMC has set a target of covering 1.25 lakh health workers in first phase of immunization drive. Corporation has kept ready eight hospitals for vaccinations under first phase. In second phase civic body will expand its immunization drive to cover more people in short time. According to the officials, in third phase BMC schools could also be turned into vaccine centres.
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