Friday, April 23

Covid-19 vaccine delivery preparations to include management of side-effects

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States have been asked to start making arrangements to deal with any coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine-related side-effects as one of the measures towards safe vaccine delivery among masses, .

In a letter written to states, the Central government has directed them to prepare to deal with any side-effect related to Covid-19 vaccine administration during the planned mass immunisation programme next year.

The letter dated November 18 from the Union ministry of health and family welfare, seen by HT, says, “…steps need to be taken to strengthen Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI) surveillance following Covid-19 vaccinations to maintain confidence in safety of vaccines. MoHF has identified initiatives which are essential to further strengthen the existing AEFI Surveillance System of India so that timely and complete AEFI reporting for Covid-19 vaccination is possible…”

The letter has been sent by Manohar Agnani, additional secretary, health ministry.

“We have to also look into the possibility of dealing with side-effects related to the vaccine; as people tend to develop a reaction to even medicines that are in use for a very long time. Even after 20 years or so there are side-effects seen of certain medicines, which may be also possible with the Covid-19 vaccines,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also said during an interaction with heads of all states and union territories on Tuesday.

The centre has directed states to strengthen their vaccine steering committees and other sub-committees to spearhead vaccine delivery till the last mile. Medical experts along with paediatricians will be a part of the team giving vaccine shots so as to manage side-effects efficiently and without losing time.

To supervise vaccine administration in chronically ill high-risk groups, the committees should include doctors belonging to different specialists such as cardiology, neurology, pulmonology etc.

The other measures being taken to ensure successful last-mile Covid-19 vaccine delivery include drawing up a list of population groups to be given the vaccine on priority in the first phase, establishing adequate cold chain facilities for vaccine storage, procuring consumables such as syringes etc., and to train vaccinators who will be giving the shot etc.