Sikkim receives first batchof Covishield vaccine6000 PLUS HEALTHWORKERS TO BE VACCINATED IN FIRST

TSHERING EDEN

Gangtok, 13 Jan: The state received its first lot of 1250 vials containing 12,500 doses of the Covishield

vaccine this evening which has been kept in the walk-in cooler of the Universal Immunization Program (UPI) Store, Cold Chain Section in STNM Hospital Complex, Gangtok. Sikkim is slated to begin the first phase of the vaccination process on 16 Jan with the vaccination of health workers and other frontline workers. Till today, around 15,000 health workers and other frontline workers have registered for

the vaccine and the numbers could still go up. This means that in the first phase around 6,000 persons will get the vaccine since each individual will have to be given two doses of the vaccine. The first 6,000 health and frontline workers are being chosen on first-come-first-servebasis and there is no criteria as

such, said Director/State Immunization Officer, Dr. Phumzay Denzongpa, during a sensitization

workshop on COVID-19 vaccination for media and health officials organized by the Health Department today in Gangtok. She informed that so far, 10,367 state health workers, 148 central health workers and

5,527 other frontline workers have registered for COVID-19 vaccination. The vaccine will be launched

in Sikkim at STNM Hospital in Gangtok and at District Hospital in Gyalshing on 16 Jan, she

informed. She added that 220 vaccinators have been trained so far. This Covishield vaccine

comes in multi-dose vials which means that each vial will contain 10 doses of the vaccine which

will have to be used within 4 hours of opening the vial. The vaccine can only be administered

to persons aged 18 years and above. Beneficiaries will have to be registered online following

which they will be allotted a site by the District Collector who is the District Manager for the vaccination

process. They will then get an SMS on the date and venue of the vaccination as well as

an acknowledgement SMS.They will also receive a Unique Health ID and after the vaccination is complete, a QR code based certificate. Dr Denzongpa informed that in case of any adverse effects after vaccination, health workers have been trained and provided Adverse Effect Following Immunization [AEFI] kits. In response to media queries, she said that there is no information on whether the state will receive the same vaccine Covishield in the second phase as well and that the centre will decide which vaccine to send. It may be mentioned that the other vaccine approved for distribution is Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin which is surrounded by controversy as of now since there is no data on its efficacy yet.

Dr Denzongpa also said that the vaccine cannot be given to pregnant women but they can receive the vaccine after delivery. Mission Director, National Health Mission, Sikkim, Dr T Yamphel said that it will take 3-4 months to cover just the health workers in the vaccination process. For the general public to be vaccinated it will take more time and like in elections, booth level set-ups might have to be done, he added. Speaking to Summit Times, Dr Sumit, Nodal Officer, Central Referral Hospital, Tadong, said that around 2000 health workers from CRH have registered for vaccination. The hospital is also trying to start vaccinating its staff from 18 Jan onwards, he added. On being asked, Dr Sumit said that the CRH staff

will have to be vaccinated from the state’s quota of vaccines. The workshop was also attended by DG-cum Secretary, Health Department, Dr. Pempa T. Bhutia, Medical Superintendent STNM Hospital, CRH Tadong staff, Health officials and media personnel.