Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar said the government is well-prepared to roll out the vaccination drive at the earliest.

Anticipating an early launch of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, Karnataka Health Minister K Sudhakar on Tuesday said that over 6.3 lakh healthcare workers across the state have been identified to receive the vaccine in the first phase.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that a countrywide vaccination programme would be launched soon.

Sudhakar said the government is well-prepared to roll out the vaccination drive at the earliest. “As many as 2,73,211 health workers in government hospitals and another 3,57,313 in private healthcare facilities will be inoculated in the first phase,” he said.

The health minister added that 9,807 experienced staff nurses have been trained for the process and 28,427 vaccination centres have been identified across the state. “All these data are included in the CoWIN software prepared by the central government,” Sudhakar said.

Elaborating on the infrastructure put in place for the drive, Sudhakar added that the Centre had already provided most of the equipment. “The Centre has provided 64 large ice-lined refrigerators (ILRs) and 24 lakh syringes, which have been distributed across districts already. We are expecting to receive the vaccine consignment with the remaining 31 lakh syringes soon,” he added.

On January 1, a dry run (mock-drill) for the vaccination programme was held in Bengaluru (Urban), Belagavi, Kalaburagi, Mysuru and Shivamogga districts. As many as three session sites (one each at district, taluk, and primary health centre levels) were identified in each district after which feedback was collected and sent to the Centre.

According to sources from the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services, each site is likely to inoculate 100 people a day. “Young staff nurses with five to ten years of experience have been chosen and trained for the vaccination process. Each site will be able to vaccinate 100 people daily in the first phase,” a source said.

Meanwhile, in Bengaluru, BBMP officials added that as many as 1.6 lakh healthcare workers are on the priority list to receive the vaccine in the first phase. “Over 1,600 vaccine sites and 444 cold chain units have been made ready for the vaccination drive. Around 1.6 lakh healthcare workers have registered for vaccination,” Rajendra Cholan, BBMP Special Commissioner (Health) had said after the dry run.

Meanwhile, Bangalore South MP Tejasvi Surya said that over 33,000 healthcare workers in his constituency have been identified to take the jab in the initial phase. “In the first phase, 26,452 healthcare workers from (BBMP) South and 7,126 from Bommanahalli (zones) will be provided with the vaccine. The government has planned to inoculate frontline workers in Phase-2 and priority groups in Phase-3,” he said.

The MP on Tuesday took part in a meeting with health officials to review the vaccination strategy and preparedness of the state capital. “We directed officials to plan an extensive campaign to reach even the most distressed sector. We also requested the BBMP to ensure that all vaccination sites in Bengaluru, which are primary health centres (PHCs), are tidy and hygienic,” Surya added.

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