Gangtok: On Saturday, COVID-19 vaccination dry run was conducted at the old STNM Hospital, now converted as an Urban Primary Health Centre.
The COVID-19 vaccination will be different from the regular vaccination programs, informed the state immunisation officer Dr Phumzay Denzongpa. “For other vaccines, those eligible will be getting it, but for COVID-19 vaccination it all depends on the software Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network along with COWIN app portal where the beneficiaries must be registered. Also, it depends on which session and location they registered for the vaccination. It will be like an election with vaccination booths, and the District Administration will decide on the same. They will get information on their mobile phones for vaccination”.
Speaking to the media, Denzongpa said, “The vaccination has been divided into four phases, reaching common citizens above 50 years in the third phase. People below the age of 50, with comorbidities, will be preferred in the fourth phase. In the first phase, hospital staff including drivers, security, cleaning staff, ASHA and Anganwadi workers will get preference. The second phase is for paramilitary forces, civil defence, municipal workers, and people involved in the surveillance of COVID disease, including the District Magistrates and their staffs. We have collected the names for the first phase, set up a database, and uploaded them to the COVIN portal”.
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The dry runs are for the state capitals. Away from three sessions prescribed by the Ministry, Sikkim will opt for only one session due to delay pushed by the Holidays. The dry run was carried out to understand the shortcomings and to improvise.
Sikkim has 24 primary health centres, two community health centres, and four district hospitals. The state health official asserted that the storage facility is in place. “For routine immunisation program, we maintain 2-8 degree Celsius of temperature, same is the preferred temperature for Covid vaccine. Hence we are prepared infrastructure wise. A new STNM Hospital premise has a UIP store with a walk-in cooler, which will work as the state’s storage facility. The districts have their storage facility, including PHCs. They were strengthened infrastructure wise during the time of HPV vaccines”, stated Denzongpa.
A total of 25 beneficiaries were identified for a dry run (mock drill) and vaccinated as per the given SOP and was reported in the CO-WIN app. A three-room (waiting area, vaccination room, and observation room) was set up for the dry run at UPHC, Gangtok according to operational guidelines.