On Tuesday, 12 January, the first consignment of Serum Institute of India’s Covishield vaccine arrived at Bengaluru’s International Airport. 647,000 doses of the vaccine in 54 boxes arrived in a SpiceJet flight around 11:45 am. Each dose of vaccine contains 0.5 ml and each vial contains 10 doses of vaccines. Soon after, the consignment was transported to the government cold storage facility in the health office premises in Bengaluru.
How will these vaccines be distributed and who will get it first? According to the state health department, they have identified close to 6.6 lakh healthcare workers who will get the vaccines in the first phase, which will begin on 16 January.
Healthcare Workers Will Be First Priority
So far, the government has identified close to 6.6 lakh healthcare workers for receiving the vaccine. However, the number of recipients of the vaccine is expected to increase since those coming under the healthcare category can register themselves till Tuesday evening.
According to the government, out of the 6.6 lakh identified so far, close to 2 lakh are from Bengaluru city and its outskirts.
Apart from medical officers, nurses and other frontline workers, lab technicians, ward attendants, orderlies and pharmacists will get these vaccines. Ambulance drivers, security staff and sanitation workers at hospitals and healthcare facilities are also eligible to receive the vaccine, according to the Health Department.
According to the government, soon police and Revenue Department officials with comorbidities will also be identified for vaccination.
Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, which will see the bulk of vaccine distribution in the first phrase, BBMP commissioner N Manjunatha Prasad has instructed officials to depute 300 special officers to oversee the process.
How Will the Vaccine be Distributed?
According to the Health Department, vaccine consignments in Bengaluru will be stored at the government facility in Anand Rao Circle, from where vaccines will be distributed to different locations. In the entire process, no private infrastructure will be used for the storage and distribution of the vaccine.
Ten walk-in coolers, four walk-in freezers, 3,201 ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs), 3,039 deep freezers, 3,312 cold boxes, 46,591 vaccine carriers and 2,25,749 ice packs are currently available for the distribution of the vaccine, said the government.
Storage facilities in Bengaluru and Belagavi, located in north and south Karnataka, will act as the main points for distribution in the state. After 6.6 lakh vaccines that arrived in Bengaluru, the second consignment of the vaccines will be sent to Belagavi. The state will also have five regional storage facilities in Chitradurga, Mangaluru, Mysuru, Kalaburagi and Bagalkote.
Vaccination drive has been planned in such a way that one vaccinator will immunise not more than 100 beneficiaries a day and each health facility can complete vaccination in 2-3 days, according to a health department official.