From left: Dr Ritu Thurr, state immunization officer; Mission Director Health & Family Welfare Dr. Kevichusa Medikhru; and Dr Nyanthung Kikon, nodal officer IDSP Credit: EastMojo Image

Kohima: State health officials have informed that 19,654 healthcare workers from both private and government healthcare facilities in Nagaland will undergo the first of COVID-19 vaccination.

Mission Director, Health & Family Welfare Dr Kevichusa Medikhru told media persons that these healthcare workers are one crore frontline health workers who will be receiving the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available.

As per reports, five vaccine candidates are in the advanced stages of development in India, out of which four are in Phase II/III, and one is in Phase-I/II trials.

Dr Medikhru informed that the data collection for the first phase is complete. According to the plan, the vaccination for the first phase will only be conducted at the District hospitals (DH), Community health centres (CHC) and the Primary health centres (PHC), excluding the sub-centres.

The state is waiting for a nod to begin the data collection for the second phase of the vaccination, which will cover another one crore frontline workers in the country, including frontline workers from the state.

As per Medikhru, the third phase which aims to cover 27 crore citizens above the age of 50 across the nation will be a “huge task” for the state’s health department to identify the people from the specified age group from the state.

In this regard, he said that “numerous exercises” are being conducted where healthcare workers are being trained similarly to the measles and rubella vaccination.

The fourth phase is also expected to cover one crore of people with comorbid conditions. Overall, 30 crore Indians are expected to receive the vaccination once it is made available, which will be free of cost.

Dr Ritu Thurr, state immunisation officer, informed that the state is “ready” to receive the vaccine and roll out the vaccination in the state. He informed that all equipment, including syringes and needles, are ready and that it is prepared and ready to carry our all activities. He said that five vaccination officials will be deployed at 1641 vaccination sites in the state.

Besides a Special Task Force (STF), a state steering committee has also been constituted. The health official said that the state has identified 119 cold chain points. Training for the healthcare workers at the district and block level will also be completed before the Christmas celebrations.

Supplementing to this, Dr Medikhru added that the health department has received a communication from the ONGC on Thursday to submit its requirements for the ice lined refrigerators, deep freezers and so on. He informed that after analysing the requirements, the list will be submitted at the earliest.

Dr Thurr further informed that as the state is well prepared for COVID -19 immunisation process, it is also prepared for the Adverse Event Following immunisation (AEFI) for which a committee has been constituted. He added that one should not be apprehensive about the vaccination.

Dr Nyanthung Kikon, nodal officer for Integrated Diseases Surveillance Programme (IDSP) appealed the public to remain as vigilant, even if the vaccination is made available. He said that two doses of the vaccines will be required to be delivered, and till the time both doses are received, and the antibodies are formed, one must not become complacent.

Ahead of the festive season, the health officials also appealed the public to follow all safety protocols to prevent the spread of the virus.

With the gradual increase in the mortality rate, the health officials warned of complacency and appealed to the public to follow all safety measures, including wearing of masks, washing of hands and maintaining social distancing.

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