Adverse Events Post COVID Vaccination a Possibility: Health Min
“States and UTs must prepare for adverse events as part of the vaccination programme,” the ministry said.
On Tuesday, 15 December, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said in a press brief that an adverse event after vaccination for COVID-19 cannot be ruled out and states and Union Territories must prepare for these as part of the vaccination programme.
Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary in the Health Ministry, added that this was not uncommon but we need to remain vigilant.
“Adverse events following immunisation are a critical issue. When we undertake a universal immunisation programme, which has been done for decades, then some adverse effects are seen in children and pregnant women after vaccination. So, we can’t deny chances of an adverse event when COVID-19 vaccination begins. The countries where immunisation has already begun, especially in the UK, adverse events took place on the very first day. So, it is essential that states and UTs prepare for this too.”Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary in the Health Ministry
The government offered a plan to deal with adverse events:
- Detailed instructions on Infection Prevention and Control Practices during vaccination.
- Management of minor, severe, serious Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI).
- States to identify at least one AEFI Management Centre in each block.
- PHCs, CHCs, DH, private health facilities or any other fixed health facility with medical officers and para-medical staff as AEFI Management Centres.
- Every session’s site to be linked to designated AEFI Management Centres.
- AEFI reporting through Co-WIN.
‘Need to Remain Cautious’
The government added that while COVID-19 deaths seem to be on the decline, “this cannot be taken for granted,” as many in our large population remain vulnerable.
Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, said during the presser that while the Delhi government had made great progress in tackling the recent COVID-19 surge, rising cases in other states were still a concern. He lauded the Delhi government for the progress shown in tackling the recent COVID-19 surge. However, the official noted that several other states continue to remain a cause of concern.
“There are states where we still have concerns. We request the governments and citizens of Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Himachal Pradesh that every effort should be made to bring the situation under control.”Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog
Bhushan also added that states and UTs were preparing for the planning, implementation and distribution stages. “29,000 cold-chain points, 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers and 300 solar refrigerators will be used. All these equipment have already reached respective state governments,” he said.
The briefing also released information on the human resource training and capacity building of India’s vaccination plan:
- Training modules for medical officers, vaccinator officers/alternative vaccinator officers, cold-chain handlers, supervisors, data managers, ASHA coordinators, etc., finalised.
- Physical training as well as training on virtual/online platforms started.
- National and State Training of Trainers (ToTs) workshops completed.
(The article was first published in FIT and has been republished with permission)
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