BENGALURU: Although preparations for immunisation against Covid-19 are on, public health experts say that the state government needs to focus not just on cold chain infrastructure, but also strengthen primary health centres. “We will need strong primary health centres, sub-centres, and trained health workers. This is where urgent investment is required. It is not just cold storage units,” explained a senior public health expert.
Dr Giridhara R Babu, senior epidemiologist and public health expert, told TNSE it is important that the state reviews and updates the micro plans to carry out vaccination programs. “Reviewing and updating the micro plans used for supplementary immunization activity is useful,” he said. Public health experts say that training and reorienting the staff for immunisation is necessary in both rural and urban areas.
However, Health and Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar’s office said that the human resources for delivering the vaccine are sufficient and ready. “PG students, medical college faculty, public health care workers are being trained for the vaccine programme. There are many other strategies too being chalked out for smooth implementation of the immunisation programme,” a health department officials said.
Dr Babu said the state needs to prepare a revised list of elderly people and those with comorbidities and reach out to them. While the focus on tackling the pandemic has mostly been on the development of vaccines, experts say medical essentials to administer them are also vital. The is a need to urgently increase the capacity to manufacture medical ancillary items that will be required, including needles, syringes, cotton-swabs, PPE kits, etc, they said.
Hindustan Syringes – one of the world’s largest manufacturers of syringes – said in September that it is increasing the output of auto-disable devices (which prevent re-use) from 700 million a year to one billion by 2021 to meet the expected demand. “Even if 60% of the world’s population is immunised, it would require four to five billion syringes,” Hindustan Syringes Managing Director Rajiv Nath had said. The state government is also working on procurement and manufacture of the medical ancillary items and will announce the details soon, sources said.