The state’s top health official on Wednesday said the government was confident about expanding its vaccine storage capacity from 80,000 litres to 2.03 lakh litres by next week. Any Covid-19 vaccine eventually approved by the Centre will be stored in 35,000 centres across the state.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath set December 15 deadline to increase the storage capacity. The chief minister has also directed officials to prepare the Covid vaccine cold chains on the lines of pulse polio vaccine cold chains, and ensure strict security at the centres.
“We have to increase our storage capacity to 2.03 lakh litres, against the capacity of 80,000 litres at present. We are trying to achieve that by December 15 and we are hopeful that we will be able to reach there in time. The process has already started as we anticipated this soon after the talks about vaccines started at an international level. Every single district will have storage units, and in some districts the work has already been completed,” Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Amit Mohan Prasad told The Indian Express.
He added, “The storage facilities can be built at several levels, like at the district Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) office, or in some hospital. We are already expanding the existing facilities. The training of the vaccinators and technical staff is also going on. Everything is on track and most of the things will be completed by December 15. We can definitely say that by the time vaccines will arrive and vaccination will start, we will be fully ready.”
Earlier in the day, the CM said a Covid vaccine would soon arrive and told officials that a foolproof work plan prepared collectively by the home and health departments, was needed to safely store it. “It is to be ensured that there is no misuse of the vaccines,” he said at a meeting in his official residence. The CM directed officials to ensure that all vaccine storage centres are fitted with CCTV cameras. Proper security should be deployed with vehicles transporting vaccines, and the vehicles should be fitted with GPS trackers, he added. The CM also virtually attended a training session for vaccination master trainers organised by the central government.
Director-General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthy told The Indian Express that the police were fully equipped and prepared to provide proper security at every stage, including storage, transportation and the vaccination drives. “In this, the health department has to identify the places where they have to keep the vaccine doses. As we have been told, there will be three different stages in which security will be needed, and the last phase will have 35,000 centres. As things get fine-tuned, we will take corresponding security measures,” he said.