Karnataka has an adequate cold chain system across the state to store and distribute the coronavirus vaccine, Health Minister K. Sudhakar said on Sunday.
“The cold chain system for storing childhood vaccines will also be sufficient enough to store and transport Covid-19 vaccine across the state," said Sudhakar in a statement here, allaying fears of facing problems in handling the supplies.
The state has 2,870 cold chain points for universal immunisation programme, which is over 10 per cent of the country’s 28,932 points.
The state has two stores in Bengaluru and Belagavi and five regional stores at Chitradurga, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Kalaburgi and Bagalkot, with walk-in coolers and walk-in-freezers to store large quantities of vaccine at regional levels and distribute them.
“All the 30 districts, including Bengaluru have sufficient ice-lined refrigerators and deep freezers to store vaccines," said Sudhakar, who is a medical doctor himself.
With 2,855 cold chain points in district hospitals, medical colleges, taluka hospitals, community health centres, primary health centres and urban primary health centres well equipped to administer the vaccine to all sections of society on priority, beginning with healthcare warriors and elders.
“The cold chain space is sufficient to store even childhood vaccines for pulse polio campaign in January 2021 and to store Covaxin," Sudhakar noted.
The districts have also insulated vans dedicated to supply vaccines to all health facilities up to primary health centres.
“We have urged the Central government to rush additional cold chain kits to strengthen storing and distribution of vaccines at regional level across the state," the minister said.
The state government has sought additional deep freezers to freeze ice packs for transporting vaccines from cold chain points.
The state had implemented the measles-rubella (MR) vaccination campaign during 2017, when it received 1.8 crore doses of the MR vaccine in a two month period, along with corresponding diluent vials and syringes.
“We have managed storing and transporting vaccines and syringes during the MR campaign with the present cold chain system and vaccinated 1.58 crore children in two months three years ago," added Sudhakar.
Electronic Vaccine Intelligence network (eVIN) has been set up at all cold chain points across the state to monitor vaccine stocks in real-time and temperature loggers have been installed to ensure vaccines are stored at the right temperature.