Senior citizens, pregnant women and healthcare workers will be 1st in line for Covid vaccine: Odisha

Senior citizens in Odisha aged above 60 years, health workers and pregnant women would be the first to get Covid-19 vaccine, Odisha government announced. Chairing a high-level meeting on Wednesday, chief minister Naveen Patnaik said once the vaccine is available in Odisha, pregnant mothers and health workers will be on the priority list for vaccination.

According to the 2011 census, elderly people constitute 9.5% of Odisha’s population of 4.2 crore. In terms of numbers, there are four million people aged 60 years and above, two million each of men and women, with the majority of them living in rural areas.

The Odisha government had already started the process for preparation of a comprehensive database of frontline Covid workers including the healthcare workers, Anganwadi and ASHA workers for seamless initiation of the vaccination programme.

Indian medical association, AYUSH association, Nursing association, Paramedic workers’ association and Private hospital owners’ association have been asked to submit details of their members to their respective district collector, municipal commissioner or chief district medical officer for enrolment in the database.

The Odisha government had earlier announced the establishment of an advanced vaccine manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar that will produce 10 types of vaccines including that of Covid-19 and malaria. The government will spend Rs 300 crore for the unit.

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Experts said vaccinating the elderly will be a challenge as most of them lived in rural areas where maintaining cold chain facilities would be a big hurdle. “Even by most optimistic assessment, I don’t think we would see a vaccine before April next year in India. Once the vaccines are available, they have to be transported to the CHC and PHC level to ensure vaccination of the elderly. In India, where our vaccine cold-chain systems are powered by electricity, much would depend upon how we manage to ensure uninterrupted power,” said Dr Bonod Patro, professor of community medicine at AIIMS Bhubaneswar.

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