GANGTOK: Sikkim received its first consignment of 12,500 Covishield vaccines on Wednesday, which will be administered to almost 6,000 health care workers starting from January 16. With two doses to be administered to each recipient at a gap of 28 days, not all the health workers will be receiving the vaccine in the first go.
The CoWIN portal has registered 16,042 beneficiaries with 10,367 state healthcare workers and 148 central health care workers. The total number of vaccines to be used will be 12,120, with 180 doses allocated for central health care workers, 10,650 for state health care workers and 1,290 for the armed force medical services. The remaining will be the buffer stock, informed state immunisation officer Dr Phumzay Denzongpa at a media sensitisation event on January 13.
“Since it is only possible to vaccinate less than 100 beneficiaries in one day, the beneficiaries will be notified through SMS by the Government. Initially, COVID19 vaccines will be administered to health workers at STNM hospital in Gangtok, East Sikkim and District hospital, in Geyzing, West Sikkim. So far, 220 vaccinators have been trained.
All beneficiaries must register on the CoWIN portal for vaccination. They also need to carry identification documents to vaccination centres,” informed Denzongpa.
The same brand of the vaccine would be used for both the dosage, as per protocol. The Sikkim government is also trying to retrieve COVAXIN vaccine.
“Covishield is for those above 18 years of age. It will not be administered to minors once phase 4 of vaccination for common citizens begins. Furthermore, pregnant women will not get the vaccine. While breastfeeding mothers have been allowed to carry out the vaccination,” informed the State Immunization Officer.
As per National ruling, the first two phases of vaccination will be free for healthcare and frontline workers. “Once Phase 3 is initiated for those above 50 years of age and those within 50 years of age with co-morbidities, the state government is still in consideration of ensuring it to be free of cost. There are plans of inclusion of the cost in the upcoming Health Budget of the State, which the state is eyeing from the Centre”, informed Health Director-General Dr Pempa Tshering Bhutia.
“The effectiveness of the second dose will begin 14 days after the vaccination. Even after the vaccination, the beneficiaries are to maintain the Covid Appropriate Behavior (CAB). Once vaccinated, they will get a unique health card and a mobile certificate with QR Code. Then finally Adverse Event After Immunization (AEFI) tracking will report about any anomalies”, informed the Health Department officials.
The vaccine will be a package of 10 doses each as part of multi-dosage. Once opened, the vaccine must be used within 4 hours, and it is in liquid form. Since there will be no vile monitor to keep the accurate temperature of 2-8 degree Celsius throughout the process, the health workers have been trained, informed officials.
The first day of vaccination will see Chief Minister Prem Singh Golay and his ministers in attendance at the STNM Hospital. “The Chief Minister and cabinet ministers will be sitting out of the vaccination process. They fall under the Phase 3 category of vaccination or after that. A similar ruling has been declared for journalists and media personnel as well. Phase 2 will strictly focus on frontline workers. The district magistrates will decide the beneficiaries, not the state health department,” informed Director-General, health.