Kashmir to receive Covid vaccine tomorrow; medics first priority

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After days of anticipation, Jammu and Kashmir is all set to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines tomorrow for healthcare workers – serving the people during the pandemic. 

The process of vaccination will start from 16 January during which around 1.7 lakh healthcare workers including doctors, nurses, and all other technicians working in public and private sectors will receive the vaccines. “List of names of all the healthcare workers has already been made since the past three months,” said Dr. Qazi Haroon, State Immunization Officer. 

Authorities, said Haroon, have compiled the names of healthcare workers, their phone numbers as well as designations which will be uploaded on a cellphone-based application called CoWIN — COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network made by the United Nations Development Programmes with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India. “The list of beneficiaries has been uploaded category wise on the app,” he said. 

The app will send SMS to beneficiaries two days prior to the vaccination, said Haroon. “They will be informed about their vaccination sites and the timings. They will have to reach their allocated session sites,” he said. 

All the vaccination sites will have a team of five professionals. While one of them will conduct the vaccination process, four others will be there for the purpose of helping. “Every site will have three rooms. One is the waiting room where the security guard will identify the people, another room is for vaccination and the last room is for observation where they will be kept for thirty minutes under observation,” said Haroon. “In case of any eventuality, there will be an ambulance ready.”

Covishield vaccine has been made by Serum Institute of India, after passing three tests for measuring the efficacy, said Haroon, it is being distributed across the country. “There were a lot of players in the market but the government approved only this one. People can be completely sure about the efficacy,” he added. 

On 11 January, the Health and Medical Education Department established control rooms on Union Territory, Divisional and District levels for COVID-19 vaccination in Jammu and Kashmir. “The role of the Control room is to overview the problems in the entire division of Kashmir in terms of logistics, human resource, or vaccine distribution. It will also look at the problems faced by beneficiaries and answer all their queries,” said Haroon. 

He added that helpline numbers will be created within two days through which the grievances of people will be solved. 

Meanwhile, the second phase of the vaccination will involve all the frontline workers including the army, paramilitary forces, police, employees of municipal corporations, and employees of the revenue department, said Haroon. 

However, during the third phase, people above the age group of fifty as well as people below 50 years with any sort of comorbidity will be vaccinated. “ I think the entire population of Kashmir will be covered in the next three to four months,” said Haroon.

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