29,000 cold chain points, 41,000 freezers: India prepares to store COVID-19 vaccines


oi-Deepika S.


Published: Tuesday, December 15, 2020, 8:38 pm [IST]

New Delhi, December 15: The Union Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in fridges, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined fridges, 41,000 freezers and 300 solar fridges will be used to store COVID-19 vaccines.

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Union Health Minister Rajesh Bhushan revealed details of cold chain management at a press conference here, saying the center has issued guidelines to states for assessing and strengthening electrical and non-electrical cold chain equipment.

The guidelines for managing the cold chain at the final cold chain points and meeting locations have also been issued, he said.

“A total of 29,000 cold chain points, 240 walk-in fridges, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined fridges, 41,000 freezers and 300 solar fridges are used,” Bhushan said.

“All of these devices have already been shipped to the States. Some other devices are shipping,” he said.

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The senior official provided further details of the preparations, saying 36 states and territories of the union had completed state steering committee and state task force meetings, while 633 districts had completed district task force meetings on the matter.

Twenty-three ministries and departments in the center and across the states have been identified and assigned roles such as planning, implementation, social mobilization and awareness-raising for the introduction of the vaccine, he said.

The training modules for doctors, vaccination officers, alternate vaccination officers, cold chain leaders, supervisors, data managers and ASHA coordinators have also been completed, and physical training as well as training on virtual / online platforms have started, the Minister of Health said.

National and state training of trainers (ToTs) workshops have also been completed, he added.

In response to a media query, Bhushan said that state governments are allowed to set up vaccination stations, even in units where the army or paramilitary are stationed.

Vaccinating 100 to 200 people at each session per day, 30 minutes of monitoring for adverse events after the shots are administered, and allowing only one beneficiary at a time are among the guidelines issued by the Center for the COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign .

According to guidelines recently issued to states, the Co-WIN (COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network) system – a digitized platform – is used to track the beneficiaries claimed for the vaccines and anti-coronavirus vaccines in real time.