Provincial governments gear up to administer first doses of Covid-19 vaccineThe vaccination drive will be executed from district hospitals and health centres that are under provincial governments.
The executives of all seven provinces in the country will be rolling out Covid-19 vaccination drives in most districts by Wednesday. The provinces received Covid-19 vaccines developed by the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and produced in India by the Serum Institute of India through the Federal Ministry of Health and Population under grant assistance from India.
As many as 96,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine meant for all 14 districts of Province 1 reached Biratnagar, the provincial capital, on Monday. The vaccines are being stored at the Province Health Supply Management Centre in Biratnagar. According to the Ministry of Social Development of Province 1, the vaccines have been dispatched to all 14 districts on Monday itself with the aim to start the vaccination drive on Wednesday.
According to Sagar Prasai, chief of the health division at the Ministry of Social Development, preparations have been made to vaccinate 35,576 individuals in the first phase.
“In the first phase, we received more than the required 71,152 vaccines. The provincial government has not decided who will receive the remaining vaccines,” said Prasai.
The provincial authorities plan to administer the Covid-19 vaccine to frontline workers like health workers, sanitation workers, ambulance drivers, security personnel and those deployed to manage the bodies of people who died of Covid-19 in the first phase.
As many as 7,600 vials—76,000 doses— of the vaccine arrived in Hetauda, the headquarters of Bagmati Province, on Sunday. The vaccines have been stored at the province supply centre under the provincial Social Development Ministry at Hetauda Sub-metropolitan City-1.
“We plan to start administering the vaccine from January 27. The vaccination drive will be initiated in all 13 districts of the province simultaneously. Preparations are underway to designate inoculation centres,” said Dr Purushottam Sedhain, the spokesperson at the Social Development Ministry.
The Bagmati government is planning to administer the vaccine from the district hospitals and health centres that are under the provincial government. It has formed a committee headed by Dipak Kafle, secretary at the Social Development Ministry, to designate vaccination centres and mobilise health workers.
“Ten to 20 health workers will be deployed in each vaccination centre, depending on the number of people who are to receive the vaccine,” said Sedhain, adding that a total of 66,461 doses would be administered in the first phase in Bagmati Province. According to him, the beneficiaries will be given their second dose of the vaccination after a month.
The vaccines stored in Hetauda will be distributed to Makwanpur, Chitwan and Sindhuli districts of Bagmati Province and Bara, Parsa, Rautahat, Sarlahi, Mahottari and Dhanusha districts of Province 2.
“The Covid-19 vaccine will also be provided to six districts of Province 2 with no storage facilities. We will dispatch the vaccine there soon,” said Sedhain. According to him, the federal government will provide the vaccine to 10 other districts of Bagmati Province in coordination with the provincial government.
On Monday, a meeting of the Provincial Corona Crisis Management Committee in Province 2, led by Lalbabu Raut, chief minister of the province, decided to start the vaccination drive from the hospitals located at the district headquarters.
Bijaya Jha, the provincial health director, said Province 2 has received 34,000 vials so far to conduct the vaccination campaign.
“Vials will be sent to the district-based stores within Tuesday. The Province 2 government had demanded 180,000 vials but only 34,000 vials have been received in the first phase,” he said.
According to the provincial government, 33,600 health workers and 1,204 sanitation workers are going to be vaccinated in the first phase.
In Gandaki, a total of 40,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine reached Pokhara on Sunday. According to Khim Bahadur Khadka, director at the province health supply management centre, the vaccines were supplied to Syangja, Parbat, Baglung and Myagdi districts on Monday. “We will supply the vaccines to all districts in the province by Tuesday,” said Khadka.
The Gandaki Province government has shortlisted 17,396 frontline workers for the administration of the vaccine in the first phase.
“Ten health workers have received training for the Covid-19 vaccination drive in Pokhara, Kaski. They will be mobilised to 10 different districts. The trained workers will provide training to other health workers in the districts,” said Dr Binodbindu Sharma, the director at Provincial Health Directorate.
Similarly, a total of 88,690 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine meant for all 12 districts of Lumbini Province reached Butwal on Sunday night. The provincial health authority is planning to administer the vaccine to 39,495 individuals in the first phase from Wednesday.
“We received the vaccine around Sunday midnight. We are preparing to dispatch the vaccine to all districts by Tuesday,” Dinesh Kumar Chapagain, the director at the Province Health Supply Management Centre, told the Post on Monday.
“The Social Development Ministry held a virtual meeting with the chiefs of district health offices, medical superintendents of the district hospitals, immunisation officers and supervisors of all the districts on Monday for the necessary management and preparation of the vaccination drive,” said Dr Pushparaj Paudel, the information officer at the ministry.
In Karnali Province, the Provincial Health Directorate is starting the vaccination campaign from Wednesday. Rabin Khadka, director at the Provincial Health Directorate, said, “We have received around 24,000 doses of the vaccine so far. The vaccine will be dispatched to Humla, Jumla, Mugu and Dolpa via air from Nepalgunj. The remaining districts will get the vaccine via road.”
The provincial government in Sudurpaschim has already completed preparations to start the vaccination campaign in all districts from Wednesday. A total of 35,170 doses were dispatched from Kathmandu and is expected to reach Dhangadhi on Monday night.
“The campaign will start from Kailali and Kanchanpur on Wednesday. We will reach the hilly districts by January 31,” said Narendra Karki, chief at the Health Division in the Ministry of Social Development in Sudurpaschim. The provincial government plans to vaccinate over 1,600 individuals in the province in the first phase, he said.
The vaccination will be done from 10 hospitals in Sudurpaschim. Health workers, sanitation workers, ambulance drivers and other medical staff involved in the treatment of Covid-19 patients will be vaccinated in the first phase.
(With inputs from our local correspondents in Morang, Dhanusha, Kaski, Rupandehi, Surkhet and Kailali.)