Training and list compilation start ahead of vaccine rollout
Nearly 20,000 vaccinators under the state health department are being trained in imparting Covid-19 vaccines and a software is being developed where details of nearly six lakh health workers are being uploaded as part of the preparation for vaccination programme.
Vaccinators, who have so long been administering traditional vaccines including polio and BCG, are being told how to handle Covid-19 vaccine from the cold chain, what volume of the dose would have to be preserved for future checks and details of infection control practices at vaccination sites, health department officials said.
A trained vaccinator will be solely responsible for injecting a shot into a person. There will be four others in the team. One of them will receive the candidate at the specified vaccination centre and check the person’s identity before ushering him or her into a waiting room.
The third will escort the candidate from the waiting room to the vaccination room after ensuring he or she has taken all precautions.
Two others will be with the candidate in the waiting room after the shot is given.
“At every vaccination site the vaccinator will be the key person and sole representative of the health department, among a group of five staff, who will be administering the jab,” a senior official of the health department said.
“The training is aimed at enabling end-to-end mobilisation and testing of the Covid-19 vaccination process.”
There will be around 6,000 vaccination sites across the state.
Similar training programmes have also begun for cold-chain handlers, who will be responsible for Covid-19 vaccines from storage and preservation to the final delivery at the vaccination centre.
The vaccines will have to be stored at a specified temperature and then transported to the nearest centre with all precautions in place.
A session on training the trainers for the ground-level cold-chain handlers was completed in Siliguri last week.
Apart from training the vaccinators, separate sessions are being held for the volunteers who will be present in the waiting room at each vaccination site. Every vaccine recipient will have to wait for at least 30 minutes after being given the jab.
The volunteers will be trained in handling Adverse Effect Following Immunisation (AEFI). There will be separate AEFI kits both in the waiting rooms of the vaccination sites and also at the nearest hospitals where recipients may have to be admitted in case they develop complications.
As part of backend preparations, the health department has engaged software professionals to draw up a detailed list of six lakh frontline health workers who will get the first shots after the Covid vaccination starts.
These professionals will monitor the vaccination process for each of the candidates, who will have to register with the Co-Win app that is being developed by the Union health ministry.
The compilation of the data on health workers is almost nearing completion and the state health department has started sending out congratulatory messages to some of them for being in the frontline in the battle against the pandemic.
The congratulatory message says: “The government of West Bengal will send you Covid-19 vaccine in due time in recognition of your efforts in standing by the side of the Covid patients as a true Covid warrior. We with your family stay healthy and sound all the time.”
“I received the message on Tuesday and was pleasantly surprised. The government always looks after its own doctors. Including private sector doctors like us is a welcome move,” said surgical oncologist Gautam Mukhopadhyay.
“Each vaccination centre will have a detailed list of those who are scheduled to turn up at a particular date and at a specified time. From the time a candidate turns up and till he leaves, everything will have to be recorded on a software and the data will later be uploaded and shared with Co-Win,” said an official at Swasthya Bhavan, who is overseeing the preparedness of the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out. “A whole team is working on this process.”
At all medical colleges and hospitals in Calcutta and North and South 24-Parganas, the health department has decided that deputy superintendents of the hospitals (non-medical) will act as “nodal officers” for the vaccination of healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses.