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Home / Jharkhand / Thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses destroyed in Khunti fire

Thousands of Covid-19 vaccine doses destroyed in Khunti fire

Short circuit may have led to blaze, say police; no casualties reported
Healthcare workers deployed at the CHC managed to save at least 3,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from getting damaged
Healthcare workers deployed at the CHC managed to save at least 3,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from getting damaged
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Our Correspondent   |   Ranchi   |   Published 30.10.21, 06:07 PM

Several thousand doses of Covid-19 vaccines were destroyed on Saturday morning after a fire at the cold storage room of a community health centre (CHC) in Left Wing Extremism-affected Khunti district, about 50 km  south of state capital Ranchi, police said.

The fire, caused due to suspected short circuit, also damaged medicines worth several thousand rupees, sources said. However, the healthcare workers deployed at the CHC managed to save at least 3,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from getting damaged and doused the fire with the help of local residents, sources from the hospital added.

However, there were no casualties.

Khunti SP  Ashutosh Shekhar said that the fire broke out early in the morning and burnt almost everything kept in the cold storage room. The police, he said, have asked the electricity department to inspect the site to determine  the cause of fire .

“Prima facie, it seems that a short circuit caused the fire. We have asked electricity department officials to inspect the site,” said Shekhar, ruling out any chances of foul play by rebel outfits active in the district.

Khunti Deputy Commissioner Shashi Ranjan did not respond to phone calls from The Telegraph Online on Saturday. However, the officer in-charge of Arki Police Station, Pankaj Kumar, said that the deputy commissioner has directed a probe into the matter.

“As of now, it is difficult to estimate the loss. Our investigation is underway and our team has already visited the spot to get a clearer picture of what happened and how much damage was caused,” said Kumar.

A  source from Arki CHC said that there were limited staff members on duty when the fire broke out, but the few staff members on duty acted spontaneously and doused the fire with the help of some local residents.

Covid-19 vaccines are usually stored at a temperature between  2 degrees Celsius and 8 degrees Celsius. According to sources in the health department, the electricity connection in all the vaccine storage points across Jharkhand were examined before the nationwide immunisation drive against Covid-19 was launched back on January 16.

This is the first incident of fire breaking out at a Covid-19 vaccine store room in Jharkhand. In January, fire broke out at the Pune facility of vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India and caused at least five casualties.



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