The state health department has assured that it has required infrastructure to meet the logistics challenge to preserve Covid-19 vaccine, once it is available for distribution after the approval.
People have raised logistical concerns amidst the reports that the Coronavirus vaccine needs to be stored at ultra-low temperatures to maintain its efficacy. The agency transporting the vaccine and the one storing it will have to maintain temperature as low as minus 30 degree Celsius to minus 20 degree Celsius in the cold chain.
However, allying concerns, the health department has claimed that it is fully prepared as far as logistic requirements and maintenance of the cold-chain is concerned. The Central government is yet to issue any guideline in this regard.
National Health Mission (NHM) official said the vaccine that will be made available would survive at the even warmer temperatures of 2°C to 8°C found in refrigerators. All necessary requirements would be addressed to maintain required cold-chain.
State immunization officer Dr Santosh Shukla said, “We will get the vaccines from Oxford (Britain) not from The USA. The vaccine will be transported under -20 degree Celsius but at the focal point, the required temperature of 2-8 degree Celsius will be maintained. So there is no such problem as far as cold-chain management is concerned. There will be two doses of vaccines. Central government will issue guidelines in this regard.”
As per medical experts, vaccines are sensitive biological products. They are sensitive to freezing, some to heat and others to light. Vaccine potency, meaning its ability to adequately protect the vaccinated patient, can diminish when the vaccine is exposed to inappropriate temperatures. Once lost, vaccine potency cannot be regained. To maintain quality, vaccines must be protected from temperature extremes. Vaccine quality is maintained using a cold chain that meets specific temperature requirements.
In order to maintain a reliable vaccine cold chain at the peripheral level, the key procedures must be observed like store vaccines and diluents within the required temperature range at all sites pack and transport vaccines to and from outreach sites according to recommended procedures and keep vaccines and diluents within recommended cold chain conditions during immunization sessions.