India is likely to begin the first round of vaccination for health care and essential services workers around January. In the second round, it may mobilise pharmacists to administer the vaccine, said government sources.
“The first round of vaccines are likely to be given to health care workers. There are around 7 million health care workers, but we are considering a number of around 10 million on the upper side. As for essential services workers like police personnel, municipality workers, even the military, etc, we are estimating them to be around 20 million or so. Put together, these 30 million people are likely to get the first shot of the vaccine around January or so,” said sources.
The person added that India had enough trained vaccinators — staff with experience gained from the universal immunisation programme — to administer the shot to the first 30 million.
But, in the second phase, many more vaccinators will be needed. “By June, the target is to vaccinate 300 million people and we will need to mobilise the resources of final-year MBBS and nursing students, apart from the auxiliary nurse midwife workforce as well as a batch of multipurpose male health care workers, and also nurses,” the source added.
The government is also evaluating the option of roping in pharmacists, who are already reasonably trained to administer an injection, in the second phase. Pharmacies also have refrigerators, which will be useful if they are used as end-points or sites for vaccine delivery.
“We want the Covid-19 vaccine drive to be a mass movement and we would need participation from all walks of life. Pharmacists, too, are likely to be roped in,” said the official in New Delhi.
India has around 800,000 pharmacies. If asked to participate, they are likely to be enthusiastic. Jagannath Shinde, chairman, All Indian Origin Chemists & Distributors, said that pharmacists are already training people to administer insulin injections.
“They are trained to administer a basic injection. We can plan to have refresher courses for the pharmacists and select a set of pharmacies in every city which would administer the Covid-19 vaccine,” said Shinde.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard