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Centre plans out to negate black-marketing during Covid-19 vaccination

The central government has allayed fears regarding ‘black-marketing’ during the COVID-19 vaccine distribution in India. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said that the central government was chalking plans for receiving and utilising “400-500 million doses covering approximately 20-25 crore people by July 2021.”

Dr. Vardhan has also assured that there would be no diversion or black-marketing. “Vaccines will be distributed as per pre-decided priority and in a programmed manner. To ensure transparency and accountability, details of the entire process will be shared in the coming months,” he said.

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In recent times, experts have pointed out that storage facilities, distribution facilities will be pivotal during the mass vaccination process in India. Some of the vaccines will need to be stored at subzero temperatures such as minus-70 or minus-80 degrees Celsius. Some vaccines can be stored in standard refrigerated environments. World Health Organization’s vaccine alliance GAVI has already made recommendations for ice-lined refrigerators. Each of these ice-lined refrigerators can cost thousands of dollars.

“States are being closely guided to also submit details about cold chain facilities and other related infrastructure which will be required down to the block level. The Centre is also working on plans for building capacities in HR, training, supervision etc on a massive scale,” Dr. Vardhan said. The Union Health Minister has emphasized that the “work in progress” will be completed by the time the vaccines are ready to ensure the swift roll-out of the immunization program.

Dr. Vardhan has also ‘cleared’ “glaring misconceptions” that seem to have captured the imagination of rumour mongers that the Coronavirus pandemic “was a government conspiracy to enable organ harvesting of healthy individuals”. The Union Health Minister has strongly rebutted these allegations. Dr. Vardhan has stated that the central government is not tied to fiscal considerations from financing agencies for implementation of the COVID-19 emergency response in light of the recent loan from the World Bank- Asian Infrastructural Investment Bank and the Asian Development Bank to the tune of Rs 15,000 Crores for managing COVID, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

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