Union ministries, state depts pick tasks, brace for Jan 16 vaccine rollout

From the ministries of Power, Railways, Labour, Civil Aviation, to the state PWD, Panchayati Raj and Police departments, personnel have been given specific duties to ensure a smooth vaccination programme  

More than 70 lakh frontline workers are expected to be vaccinated in the initial inoculation process, starting January 16. Photo: iStock

Officials of more than 20 ministries and several state departments are on their toes preparing for a successful execution of the Centre’s COVID-19 inoculation programme, slated for on January 16.

According to Indian Express, while the Railways has been entrusted with “vaccine branding” on tickets and conduct vaccination sessions at its hospitals and dispensaries, the Power Ministry has been asked to instruct state discoms to see that there is no power disruption at the vaccine storage points and vaccination camps.

“The Civil Aviation Ministry has had several discussions with stakeholders including airlines, airports, (and) ground handling companies…Main requirement is temperature regulation,” IE quoted an official as saying.

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The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has already issued guidelines for aircraft operators on the safe handling and transport of vaccines packed in dry ice.

The Labour Ministry has been asked to conduct the vaccination programme across its Employee’s State Insurance network of hospitals and staff while the Defence Ministry has been tasked with ferrying the vaccines to remote and sensitive areas of the country.

In rural areas, the Common Services Centres under the Ministry of Information and Technology will be used for vaccine registrations while the ministry has been asked to instruct mobile service providers to send messages and caller tunes on the vaccination programme.

On the state-level, departments including the police, public works (PWD) and education have been roped in for an effective administration of vaccine and issues standard operating procedures.

According to the IE report, the PWDs have been entrusted with identifying the vaccination camp sites, taking care of the logistics and providing drinking water, while the police department will provide security to vaccine consignments during transport and storage.

The Panchayati Raj department will conduct the registration of health care workers under the zila parishads and panchayats, as well as identify and set up the vaccination sites.

Personnel from the Education departments includinh school teachers and ‘shiksha mitra’ will be deployed at vaccination sites and help in spreading awareness on the campaign.

The official who spoke to IE said it may take another four to five days for the vaccinemakers to get their consignments shipped to the various vaccination points.

More than 70 lakh frontline workers are expected to be vaccinated in the initial inoculation process, starting January 16.

Related news: COVID-19 vaccines to be given from January 16 in India

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to have a discussion on the vaccine rollout with chief ministers on January 11 via video conferencing.