To avoid any panic situation right before coronavirus vaccination in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has said that it is “ready with necessary groundwork and has put in place the infrastructure, at least for initial stages”.
The BMC has not only recognised the city hospitals to store the vials, but is also confident that “if and when the vaccine arrives, the hospitals will be ready within 24-hour notice period”.
Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani told India Today TV that the BMC does not want to take any chance, hence it is prepared. “Our maximum healthcare workers are in civic hospitals, and they should get the vaccination then and there. Also, we have organised storage facility too, at the hospitals to avoid transportation hassles at the last minute.”
KEM, Sion, BYL Nair and Cooper Hospital in Mumbai have been designated for the vaccination and storage purposes. These hospitals, as officials pointed out, already have cold storage facilities and are now being given a relook for the new purpose. “We have necessary storage capacity and we can maintain the conditions needed for the vaccine storage. The existing infrastructure is being given a relook to see if changes are needed, and if the necessary changes need to be done immediately,” said AMC Kakani.
As of now, the city hospitals can store around 1.5 lakh vials, with KEM Hospital alone having a capacity for around 40,000 vials. BLY Nair Hospital recently got a cold storage which will help the hospital in storing at least 40,000 vials. Ramesh Bharmal, director, Medical Education, said, “We are looking at all possible capacity scenarios. The blood bank and drug storage facilities are also being looked into and an analysis of the same is underway.”
Sources said that the state government and the central government will be providing assistance to the BMC for organising more cold storage facilities in the city. The BMC plans to store the rest of the vials at a building in Kanjurmarg, which is being readied for the purpose. The BMC has also readied the database of the first recipients of Covid-19 vaccine. Officials added that the frontline workers of private and government bodies will get the first vaccine shots, and then the vaccine will be distributed as per the government guidelines.
As for the training of the hospital staffers for transportation purposes, carrying vaccine boxes and the vaccinations itself, the BMC added that necessary orders have been passed and the staffers, too, are ready for the job. AMC Kakani added, “Our blueprint is ready. The doctors and staffers will be trained for a day or two, and within a short notice period of 24 hours we will be ready. The staff capacity will also depend on the vaccines we get, and accordingly each ward will be equipped. Wards in central and western suburbs have been readied for the exercise.”