Gangtok, Nov 27(IPR): Government of India has begun its preparedness for the possible introduction of Covid-19 vaccine and a National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) has been formed as the highest group that will guide the strategies for vaccine introduction. It is anticipated that initially the supply of vaccine will be limited in view of huge demand hence prioritization of socio-demographics group will be done for vaccination and subsequently other groups will be included for vaccination.
With this in view, a State Steering Committee has been formed with the Chief Secretary as the Chairman to develop a coordination mechanism at the state and district level for assessment of various activities like cold chain availability and its augmentation, preparation of a database of Health workers etc to ensure readiness for the introduction of Covid-19 vaccine in Sikkim.
The first meeting of the State Steering Committee was held today in Tashiling Secretariat under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Shri S.C. Gupta.
The meeting was conducted by the Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of Sikkim and was attended by Heads of Departments (Members of the SSC) and senior officers of the Health Department.
The objective of the meeting was to sensitize the State Steering Committee on the new development regarding the vaccine and to discuss on various aspects of planning and implementation of the vaccine programme in the State, with coordinated efforts from all concerned.
A detailed presentation on the objective of the meeting and the preparedness on Covid-19 vaccination was made by Dr. T. Yamphel, Principal Director cum MD (NHM).
Chief Secretary, Shri S.C. Gupta, in his address said that the Covid-19 vaccination programme has to be done exactly in the same way as all vaccination programmes in the past which have been carried out successfully by the State Government. The first task would be to select the groups to be vaccinated in the first phase and the logistical requirements thereof, he said. He called for coordinated efforts from all the designated departments at every stage.
The Chief Secretary maintained that the Covid-19 situation in the State is stable yet there is need for all necessary precaution.
The meeting also discussed the new guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home, Government of India. The District Collectors also briefed on the Covid-19 situation in the districts, and their response to the new guidelines issued by the Government of India. The need to increase institutional testing and introduction of mobile testing facilities was also discussed. The logistical preparedness of the State for the proposed vaccination programme was also discussed in detail. Dr. P. Denzongpa, DHS, RCH cum State Immunization Officer, provided a brief report of the logistics being planned.
The meeting had the presence of Additional Chief Secretary, Finance, Shri V.B. Pathak, Principal Secretary, Health, Shri K. Sreenivasulu, Principal Secretary, Home, Shri R. Telang, Principal Secretary, RDD, Shri C.S. Rao, and Secretaries of various other Departments. The meeting was joined through video conferencing by the District Collectors, Army officers, Paramilitary Forces, and officers of WHO.
The meeting concluded with vote of thanks proposed by Dr. Tshering Doma Bhutia, Additional Director (Immunization).