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Covering the entire Indian population with COVID Vaccination

18-Jun-2021Rattan Chand

India's population can be easily administered with the COVID vaccine in the next 6-7 months, if properly organised. In the rural areas, there is one Sub Health Centre (SHC) for every 5000 population (village level), One Primary Health Centre (PHC) for every 30000 population ( covers 6 SHCs), and one Community Health Centre (CHC ) for 1.2 lakh population. Similar infrastructure (PHCs and CHCs) also exists in the urban areas. For vaccine supply up to SHC level, there already exists a standard immunization protocol (including handling of adverse events) and COVID vaccination programme can follow the same. About 158000 SHCs, 31000 PHCs and 5600 CHCs are functioning in the country. Every SHC needs to vaccinate around 3000 people (18+ population is around 60 percent) and around 10 percent of these are already vaccinated. Each SHC has at least one ANM which, on priority, can do around 60 vaccinations per day. As the COVID vaccine supply is likely to be spread over the next 6-7 months, the whole of the eligible population can be covered by SHCs, PHCs and CHCs during this period. Alternatively, the people may come to respective PHCs / CHCs where a team of 5-6 ANMs and a doctor can be positioned by pooling ANMs from the SHCs. Though, bringing people to PHCs could be an issue.

Other measures like mobile vaccination teams for remote areas, vaccinations at airports, railway stations, bus stands, hotels, manufacturing units, corporates, etc can also be adopted. A systematic media campaign to dispel rumours and overcome vaccine hesitancy is also necessary.