NEW DELHI: With Covid-19 vaccine development process progressing at a fast pace globally, the Centre has asked all states and UTs to formulate a robust plan to ensure adequate storage capacity for vaccines and maintenance of cold chain. The idea is to ensure that once the vaccine is approved for use, it reaches the masses even in remote areas of the country.
“One of the intervention for mitigating the Covid-19 pandemic is effective immunisation against it and robust mechanism for storage of vaccines and maintenance of the cold chain are imperative for ensuring the same,” the health ministry said in a letter to states and UTs.
Currently, there are three vaccine candidates under human trials in India. Of these, the one developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca has entered phase 3. Pune-based Serum Institute is conducting local trials of the vaccine and is also the manufacturing partner of AstraZeneca for low and middle income countries. There are also two locally developed candidates by Bharat Biotech and Cadila Pharmaceuticals that are completing phase 2 trials.
“Preparing the vaccine logistics is going to be a crucial part of preparing for the launch and administration of Covid-19 vaccine. This will require the Centre and states to look at existing capacity and infrastructure, including the need for temperatures to be maintained for the vaccine candidates in the fray, and plan for additional resources required to enable vaccines to be delivered with potency,” says Anant Bhan, researcher in global health, bioethics and health policy. He said this planning and preparation needs to happen now.