Vijayawada: The AP government has set a record of not losing potency for even a single vial of the Covid-19 vaccine for want of maintenance of cold chain out of the 2.51 crore doses received so far.
AP had cold storage facility for 1.5 crore doses of different vaccines under the state and national immunisation programmes. After the outbreak of the pandemic, the government enhanced the capacity to store three crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.
A health official said that once a consignment of Covishield or Covaxin arrives either by air or by road from the manufacturer to the State Covid Centre here, they are transported to the district health offices immediately, to be secured in ice-lined refrigerators at temperatures between 2ºC and 8° Centigrade .
From there, the vaccines are transported to the vaccination centres in vehicles equipped with electrically operated cold boxes. At these centres, the health personnel secure the vials in Covid carriers. The authorities said that during this long process, sometimes lasting days, they ensure that the cold chain is maintained without a break.
Officials said the single largest consignment ever received by the state was nine lakh doses, which had been handled safely.
A senior health official said, “We have cold storage facility to secure three crore doses of Covid vaccines at a time. In the event of a third wave of pandemic and the need arises to store a large number of vials, we are ready.”
With better management, health authorities have minimised the wastage of vaccines, unlike earlier. Prakasam district medical and health officer Dr P. Ratnavali said, “Personnel are opening the vials after finding the required number of patients. We have learnt that it is the same in other districts too. There are no leftover doses in the vials.”
Earlier, some doses used to get wasted with not enough people turning in time; the opened vials are discarded four hours after opening. Each vial, depending on the size, has 10 or 20 0.5 ml doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.
The state set a national record of administering the highest number of 13.26 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccine on a single day on June 21. It administered 6.28 lakh doses on April 14 as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for Tika Utsav....