10% of country’s cold chain points in Karnataka | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: With nearly 10% of the country’s 28,932 cold chain points concentrated in the state, the Karnataka government is confident of further ramping up infrastructure and delivering Covid-19 vaccines to people without a hitch.
Karnataka has already launched reorientation training for pharmacy officers — who will manage the cold chain — at all levels, besides coaching sessions for medical officers, ANMs, staff nurses and all cadres within the health department.

Arundathi Chandrashekar, director, National Health Mission, which will spearhead the inoculation drive in the state, said: “Instructing trainers is already complete and we are in the process of training additional manpower. There are already enough trained people to administer the vaccine to healthcare workers, who will be inoculated in the first phase. Training additional personnel is underway at district and block levels.”
Health department data shows Karnataka has 2,870 cold chain points, two statelevel vaccine stores — in Bengaluru and Belagavi — and five regional vaccine stores located in Chitradurga, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Kalaburagi and Bagalkot. These facilities have walk-in coolers and freezers equipped to store large quantities of vaccine, which can be distributed to districts around.
All districts have sufficient ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs) and deep freezers (DFs) and other equipment as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) to store vaccines, the department said.
“In all, CHCs (community health centres), PHCs (primary health centres) and urban PHCs are equipped with 3,776 ILRs, 3,495 DFs,” the department said.
It reiterated that existing facilities, which will be further augmented, will be sufficient to handle Covid-19 vaccines whenever available along with the OPV vaccine the state will receive for the pulse polio campaign next month.
“That Covid inoculation will happen in phases is favourable. In any case, we will strengthen our capacity,” an official said.
Karnataka has also requested additional equipment such as deep freezers to cool ice-packs from the Centre, the health department said.
“The Centre has already provided 64 large ILRs, while 866 small ILRs and 28 deep freezers are in the pipeline… This will boost capacity. Beside this, a contingency plan, additional cold chain space available with other departments at state and districts has also been explored,” the department said.
Dr Rajani N, immunisation director, Karnataka, had told TOI earlier that most of the UIP infrastructure is well managed and will be used to roll out the Covid-19 vaccine. “The system is efficient and we have experienced personnel who handle lakhs of children each year. So, inoculating adults will not be a challenge,” she said.
That Karnataka is among the states to have already implemented electronic vaccine intelligence network (eVIN), now revamped and renamed as Co-WIN, means that all cold chain points in the state where vaccines are stocked can be monitored in real time. “Also temperature loggers are installed to ensure vaccines are safely stored at the right temperature at all the time,” the department said.


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Sagar Biswas

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