Ahead of the launch of the ambitious vaccination programme against SARS-CoV-2 on January 16, six centres in Maharashtra are set to receive 2,000 doses each of Covaxin – the country’s first indigenous vaccine developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. According to state health authorities, obtaining consent from the beneficiary is mandatory for administering the Covaxin doses.
State Immunisation Officer Dr DN Patil said that there are 286 Covid-19 vaccination centres across Maharashtra and of these, six have been identified for the immunisation of healthcare workers with Bharati Biotech’s Covaxin. The remaining centres have received doses of Covishield, the vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India, he added.
In Pune district, 2,000 doses each of Covaxin have been sent to the district hospital at Aundh and the government medical college at Solapur.
Other centres in the state that have received 2,000 doses each of Covaxin include the Government Medical College at Aurangabad, the Government Medical College at Nagpur, the Grant Medical College and JJ Hospital in Mumbai and the district hospital at Amravati.
Pune, Satara and Sangli districts have received a total of 1.77 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine. While two centres in Pune will distribute Covaxin, 30 vaccination centres in the district will distribute Covishield. Thirteen vaccination centres in Solapur and 11 vaccination centres in Satara will also distribute Covishield, said Deputy Director of Health, Pune region, Dr Sanjay Deshmukh.
Preparations for administering Covaxin have been readied at the district hospital in Aundh and vaccination booths have been earmarked as per the guidelines laid down by the Centre and the state government, said Dr Ashok Nandapurkar, a civil surgeon in Pune district.
Dr Ashish Bharti, medical chief at the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), said that a 100 healthcare workers will be selected on a random basis for being vaccinated. Eight centres in PMC limits have been identified for the immunisation programme, including Sassoon General Hospital, private facilities such as Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, Ruby Hall Clinic, Bharti Hospital and Noble Hospital, and a few run by the PMC. Eight vaccination centres have also been identified for the same in Pimpri Chinchwad, while there are 15 vaccination centres in Pune (rural).
Dr Manisha Karmarkar, chief operating officer at Ruby Hall Clinic, said that it was an honour for the medical facility to be selected as a vaccination centre. “We are completely prepared for handling the vaccination drive and have set up infrastructure as per protocol. All safety measures are in place to handle all eventualities,” she added. A list of the employees – including doctors, nurses and support staff – has been sent to the PMC, said Dr Rebecca John, assistant medical director at the clinic.
At Noble Hospital, Executive Director Dr HK Sale said that a vaccination booth is being set up and the doses are expected to come in by Friday. “At least 1,200 staffers have registered for the vaccination,” Dr Sale said.
At Sassoon General Hospital, the state’s largest government hospital, Dean Dr Murlidhar Tambe said that they have registered a total of 4,100 staffers for the vaccination. “Sassoon General Hospital is also being considered as one of the nine centres in the country for an interactive session at the virtual launch where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the vaccination programme,” Dr Tambe said. He, however, added that they were presently awaiting confirmation.
Dr Dhananjay Kelkar, medical director at Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital, which has also been enlisted as a Covid-19 vaccination centre, said that the facility has made adequate arrangements to maintain the cold chain. `”The majority of our employees have registered for the vaccination,” he said.