New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday sent out a warning to the states and union territories, asking them to prepare for likely 'adverse events' which may follow the nationwide coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination programme.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary at the Union Health Ministry, said that dealing with adverse events following the immunisation programme is a critical issue and that it is essential that the states and union territories prepare for this.
He highlighted that in countries such as the United Kingdom (UK), where immunisation has already begun, adverse events were observed on the very first day itself. In the case of most universal immunisation programmes as well, adverse effects are often seen in children and pregnant women after vaccination, he said, thereby advising that it is essential that healthcare workers prepare for this.
"Adverse events following immunisation is a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunisation program, which has been done for decades, then some adverse effects are seen in children & pregnant women after vaccination," news agency ANI quoted Rajesh Bhushan as saying.
"So, we can't deny the chances of an adverse event when COVID19 vaccination begins. The countries where immunisation has already begun, especially in the United Kingdom, adverse events took place on the very first day. So, it is essential that states and union territories prepare for this too," the Health Ministry Secretary said.
Meanwhile, the mammoth task of training health care workers for the Covid-19 vaccination drive has begun in the national capital, as the country eyes the rollout of the vaccines after they get accelerated approval from the drug regulator.
Around 3,500 health workers have been identified in Delhi to carry out the vaccination process. As per the Delhi government, 1.8 lakh to 2.25 lakh health care workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of the drive, for which 609 cold chain points have been identified in all the top hospitals and Mohalla clinics.
"The training drive started on Monday. Today is the second day of the training. Initially, 3,500 workers will be trained in Delhi," IANS quoted Dr Suneela Garg of Maulana Azad Medical College, who has been appointed as the public health expert under the coronavirus vaccination programme in Delhi.
"Key people like state immunisation officer and immunisation technical support unit of United Nations Development Programme have already been trained by the Centre and they have begun the state-level training in Delhi," she told IANS.
According to the central government's latest guidelines, health care personnel, including state and district programme managers, medical officers, vaccinator officers, information, education and communication officers, cold chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, ASHA workers, and Mahila Arogya Samitis will be engaged in the vaccination process through cascaded trainings.
The training sessions will be interactive and use methodologies such as PowerPoint presentations, instructive videos, roleplays, exercises and interactive discussions. In the training, they will be apprised about vaccine safety, line-listing of beneficiaries, monitoring, vaccine logistics management and use of digital application Co-WIN.
As many as eight Covid-19 vaccine candidates are under different stages of clinical trials which could be ready for authorisation in the near future, including three indigenous vaccines.
At present, three vaccine candidates - Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, Serum Institute-Oxford's Covishield and Pfizer vaccine are in the fray for emergency use authorisation. Last week, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation had asked Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute to submit additional data to get approval.
(With inputs from IANS)