New Delhi: With the country expecting COVID-19 vaccination drive in January, the Union Civil Ministry is making all arrangements to maintain the “integrity of cold chain” during the transportation of vaccine, a senior official said on Tuesday (December 29).

Addressing a press conference here, Civil Aviation Ministry Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola said transportation is going to be a very important component during the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

He noted that the most important thing is to maintain the vitality of the vaccine which will require temperature regulation. “The vaccine has to be moved from the place of manufacture to all the cordons of the country through multi-mode movement. We are working with the Ministry of Health and other departments of various ministries.

The most important thing is to maintain the vitality of the vaccine which will require temperature regulation. We are making arrangements to maintain the integrity of this cold chain during transportation,” he said.

The official said that from the place of manufacturing of the vaccine to the place of consumption is a big chain.”There will be road travel, air travel, storage, distribution, and administration. We are making all the arrangements. As soon as the vaccination drives begin, we will work out and we will help in implementation,” he said.

Kharola said that all the main stakeholders including airlines have been alerted.” Exact Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) will be formulated with the Ministry of Health and Dept of Pharmaceuticals when we know exact details of the vaccine. Detailed SOPs will be laid down,” he added. Health Ministry said earlier this month that guidelines for estimation of cold chain equipment have been issued to all states and they have received at least 240 walk-in coolers, 70 walk-in freezers, 45,000 ice-lined refrigerators, 41,000 deep freezers, and 300 solar refrigerators for COVID-19 vaccination.

Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had said that India may begin vaccinating people against COVID-19 from January and the government`s first priority has been the safety and efficacy of the vaccine.

According to the Health Ministry, there are nine COVID-19 vaccine candidates in different phases of clinical trials in India — six are under clinical trials, and three in the pre-clinical phase.

Dry run for vaccine administration is being held in four states as central government gears up for rollout of COVID-19 vaccine.

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