The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) on Sunday approved the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ manufactured by the Serum Institute and indigenously developed ‘Covaxin’ of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country.
Health minister Mangal Pandey said the two vaccines used for routine vaccination can be stored in cold chain equipment. Pandey said 932 deep fridges and 1,654 refrigerators have been arranged for keeping the vaccines in cold chain equipment. “Altogether 423 ILRs (a variety of refrigerators) have been sent to the districts. A total of 4,39,663 healthcare workers have been registered on the corona portal so far. Of which, 3,62,061 are from government institutions and 72,371 from private institutions. The rest belong to the Union ministry,” he said.
Giving details of the vaccination process in the first phase, the minister said there were 14,724 trained vaccinators in the state to carry out the drive. “In addition, 64,568 potential vaccinators have been identified in the state on Covid portal, who would also contribute. A total of 700 government institutions and 68 private institutes have been selected for vaccination in the first phase,” Pandey said.
The health workers hailed the emergency approval of the vaccines as a crucial step in the fight against this global pandemic.
AIIMS-P nodal officer for Covid, Dr Sanjeev Kumar, welcomed the government’s decision. “There is a difference between Covid and other diseases, because the health workers are more prone to Covid as they came in direct contact with the infected patients,” he said. “Two doses will be given to the health workers, first on zero day and second on day 28 as per the protocol. The vaccines efficacy has been proved in the first and second phase of trial while the initial report of ongoing third phase is also safe, so it is approved for the emergency use,” he added.
Dr Veena Singh, head of the plastic surgery department at AIIMS-Patna, said the emergency licensing of both the vaccines is an encouraging step from the government. Since the frontline workers are supposed to get the vaccine in the first phase, the others will get in second slot. “So, it’s a good news for the nation,” she said.
NMCH deputy superintendent Dr Santosh Kumar said it is welcome step taken by the government, because health workers are the frontline workers and most prone to get infected with Covid.
A paramedical staff at PMCH, Bharat Bhushan said, “We are waiting for the vaccination drive because the efficacy of the vaccine has already been proved.”
Lata Devi, an Asha worker, said the New Year has brought gift for everyone in the form of vaccine. “We are grateful to all the experts, who made this possible,” she said.