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About 6.98 lakh doses of Covid vaccine reach city

About 6.98 lakh doses of Covid vaccine reach city
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Kolkata: The first consignment of about 6.89 lakh doses of Covid vaccine to be administered on health professionals during the first phase of the mega vaccination programme starting across Bengal from January 16, arrived in Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon from Pune.

A senior official of the state Health department said the first consignment arrived at Kolkata airport at around 2.26 pm. They were later taken to the Central Family Welfare Store at Bagbazar in insulated vans.

Around 2.71 lakh additional doses of vaccine have also arrived in the city and have been stored at a Central-owned store near Hastings, likely to be flown to other North-Eastern states. Kolkata has become the hub for storing vaccines meant for other states as well.

Altogether around 9.60 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine have reached the airport on Tuesday where four refrigerated vans were stationed. Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay on Tuesday expressed happiness as the state received the vaccine consignment. From the central store, the vaccines would be taken to the districts as per schedule. Meetings have already taken place in the state, district and block-levels with those involved in transporting the vaccine, cold chains and personnel arrangement. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reviewed the entire process of the vaccination programme, Bandyopadhyay maintained.

The Health department had already put in place adequate arrangements for the preservation of vaccines at the central store. Five walk-in-coolers (WICs) and four walk-in-freezers (WIFs) were made ready to store the vials which would be preserved in a temperature between 2 and 8 degree Celsius. There have been adequate security arrangements outside the WICs. All the WICs would be opened through passwords at the same time, sources added. There are around 53 WICs in the state so far.

Green corridors would be set to transport the vaccines to the cold chains. Health Secretary Narayan Swaroop Nigam and other officials visited the central store in the afternoon to supervise the preservation.

All the transport arrangement was ready to dispatch the vials on time. "Before they are dispatched to other districts, the batch numbers and other specifications would be registered," a senior health official added.

According to sources, vaccines have already been dispatched to parts of North 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly on Tuesday evening. The Covid vaccine would be sent to the far-off districts in North Bengal on Wednesday so that inoculation programmes can start as per schedule. Vaccines would also be sent to the districts of Purulia, Bankura, West Burdwan and remote areas of the Sunderbans on Wednesday. The refrigerated vans of the Health department would take the vaccine to the districts from the central store.

Nearly six lakh health professionals working both at government and private establishments, including doctors, nurses have enrolled for vaccination. Like the rest of the country, the vaccination programme would start in the state on January 16. The country had recently granted emergency clearance to two vaccines — Oxford's Covishield manufactured by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin.

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