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Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government is ready with all the requisite measures and infrastructure for starting the vaccination drive against COVID-19, said Directorate of Medical Education and Training (DMET) Director Dr CBK Mohanty on Tuesday.

As per the Centre’s guidelines, priority will be given on vaccinating health and frontline workers and vulnerable groups including people over 65-years of age and others having comorbidities.

As per the existing data, nearly 3.20 lakh beneficiaries, mostly health care workers will be vaccinated in the first phase in Odisha, Health and Family Welfare Department Director Bijay Kumar Panigrahi told reporters.

Panigrahi said that there are 1222 cold chains for the preservation of the COVID-19 vaccine, 1796 ILR for transportation and 1772 freezers in the State.

“There is one centralised state-level store, 9 regional level while 32 more have been set up at district-level. Five officials will be deployed for vaccination at every centre,” said Panigrahi.

On a media query whether there will be a second wave of COVID-19 in Odisha, Mohanty said, “Few countries are experiencing second wave of COVID-19 when lockdown restrictions were withdrawn. It has been observed that people in such countries did not follow the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines strictly. It is very difficult to say whether there will be a second wave in Odisha or not. But our focus should be on practising frequent hand washing practices, using of masks, maintaining social distancing norms as precautionary measures against the disease.”

According to Mohanty, there has been sharp decline in the daily count of COVID-19 cases in Odisha. “Scientists across the world including in India are working on several COVID-19 vaccines which have reached advance stages of trial. However, we are gearing up to start the mass vaccination drive as per State government’s direction,” he said.

According to Mohanty, the COVID-19 vaccination drive will be undertaken as per the Universal immunisation programme  and there will be no problem in carrying out the mass drive as all the facilities are in place in Odisha.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Centre has made provision for registration mandatory for people for the COVID-19 vaccine and there will be no provision for spot registration.

Addressing a press meet on Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that the government has developed a digital platform 'Co-WIN' for real-time monitoring of coronavirus vaccine. It will enable people to get themselves registered for immunisation.

As per plans, vaccines will be administered to 100-200 people in each session per day and the conditions will be monitored for 30 minutes for any adverse event.

According to the guidelines issued to States recently, the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (Co-WIN) system–a digitalised platform–will be used to track enlisted beneficiaries for the vaccination and anti-coronavirus vaccines on a real-time basis.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)

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