Mumbai : BMC Medical staff Swab Testing at Navjeet Jain health centre Dadar.
Mumbai : BMC Medical staff Swab Testing at Navjeet Jain health centre Dadar.
Photo by BL SONI

To ensure the smooth distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to include civic-run schools and gymkhanas as Covid-19 vaccine centres to provide better accessibility to the public.

An estimated one crore frontline health workers will receive the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available, with around 92 per cent of government hospitals and 55 per cent of private hospitals across all states and UTs providing data identifying the workers.

“We were asked to do planning and mapping of vaccination sessions where healthcare workers will be vaccinated during the 1st phase and mapping human resources across departments that could be deployed for vaccination sessions for verification of beneficiaries, crowd management, and overall coordination,” said an official.

Suresh Kakani, Additional Municipal Commissioner, BMC said they need to provide maximum accessibility to the public to fasten the process. So, along with medical colleges, peripheral hospitals, dispensaries, the civic body has plans to include around 400 schools and gymkhanas that are under them.

“At first, we will start the vaccine centres at tertiary and secondary care centres. But we will also keep the schools and gymkhanas which are under me ready if we need more centres,” he said. “We are already using schools and gymkhanas as Covid Care Centres (CCC) so there won't be a problem in converting these into vaccine centres,” added Kakani.

As instructed by the union health ministry, the civic body is keeping the blueprint ready for the preparation of vaccine distribution. The civic body has been holding regular meetings with the senior health officers including the deans of the medical colleges.

In Mumbai, around 1.25 lakh public and private medical staffers will be provided with the first dosage of the vaccine. The civic body has already registered their phone and email IDs. Once they receive the vials, each beneficiary will be informed through SMS about the nearby location and time of the vaccine. Once removed from the cold storage, a vial can sustain for around 10 hours.

“At present, we will provide training to the workers from the department of immunisation who will work as trainers and trainee others in future. But we will recruit other workers for the mass immunisation process,” said an official from the health department.

The government has demarcated four categories which include around 1 crore healthcare professionals including doctors, MBBS students, nurses and ASHA workers etc, around two crore frontline workers including municipal corporation workers, personnel of the police and armed forces, about 26 crore people aged above 50 and a special category of those below 50 with co-morbidities and requiring specialised care.

In the meantime, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has cautioned about the hype about the vaccines which are still undergoing clinical trials.

“The safety of the vaccine has to be tested widely with a large number of volunteers across the globe with different categories like age groups, sex, race, continents, and climate conditions. Any vaccine which is not tested fully with such 3rd stage clinical trials is not safe,” the statement issued by Dr. Avinash Bhondwe, president IMA, Maharashtra stated.

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