As Covid-19 vaccine looks imminent in the country, Kerala has started ramping up its cold chain infrastructure for storage and distribution of the vaccine. The Union government has already allotted the first batch of cold boxes, meant for transportation and storage of vaccines, the government officials said.
According to sources, the state has requested 135-odd ice lined refrigerators (ILR) and 20 deep freezers from the Union Government for ramping up the existing storage and distribution facilities. “We have already started receiving cold boxes and the first consignment has reached last week. The allotted number of ILRs, deep freezers, ice packs and vaccine carriers would reach within two months. All districts had prepared the inventory increasing the facilities for the forthcoming vaccination,” the official said.
The official said the state already has an excellent cold chain facility from vaccine depots down to primary health centres/family health centres as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). All primary and family health centres in Kerala have ILRs and deep freezers.
As the health workers have been identified as the priority group to get the vaccine shots in the first phase, the process of uploading the data of health workers is going on at the district level. At the state level, data of 3,969 public institutions and 4,420 private institutions have already been uploaded, sources said.
Under the UIP in Kerala, vaccines are lifted from regional depots to district stores and are later distributed to all the hospitals. From the district depot, vaccines would be supplied to all hospitals depending upon a monthly requirement and list of beneficiaries. Routine vaccination is held on all Wednesdays in all hospitals. Besides, there are periodic outreach programmes at sub-centres or anganwadis, where vaccines are taken in vaccine carriers.
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