India may get enough doses to be administered for which the country would need additional manpower
Public health experts have said that roping in pharmacists to administer a vaccine can help improve its coverage
NEW DELHI :
As the country may get a covid-19 vaccine early next year, the government is planning to rope in allied healthcare workforce for vaccinations including pharmacists. The pharmacists so far haven’t received any official confirmation from the government but the sector would require major training for the job. As anticipated by the government, India is likely to witness the second wave of covid-19 in the post festival seasons and the upcoming winters. According to the government officials, the pharmacists may be looped in the second round of vaccinations after the administering it to the priority groups such as health care workers, elderly, pregnant women and others.
The involvement of pharmacists will depend upon the number of doses India gets once the vaccine is available. Officials who didn’t wish to be named said that as the whole world is waiting for the covid-19 vaccine, India may get enough doses to be administered for which the country would need additional manpower. The officials said that training will be an important part.
“We are ready to come forward if the training is given to our Pharmacists for Covid-19 Vaccine rather we will serve in better way because we know very well how to maintain cold chain and to keep the vaccine intact," said Rajiv Singhal, general secretary of All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists.
Pharmacy experts have said that given the shortage of doctors, nurses and trained personnel, the government is intending to prepare a second line of ‘vaccination warriors’ to strengthen the existing manpower.
“While the first round of vaccination for healthcare and essential services workers with an estimated strength of 30 million is likely to start around January, the second round would require a much larger number of trained vaccinators. The 8 lakh-strong pharmacists could play an important role in this. The pharmacists would need to be trained while the laws and regulations relating to this would also need to be changed permitting pharmacists to safely administer the vaccine," said Gurpreet Sandhu, President Council for Healthcare and Pharma and Founder, Reva Pharma.
Public health experts have said that roping in pharmacists to administer a vaccine can help improve its coverage. However, they need to be trained adequately and must undergo mandatory internship in a hospital with an injection room or ward with patients to have first-hand experience.
“Training must include administering all types of injections -- intramuscular, intravenous, subcutaneous, intradermal -- so that the trained resources can be used for all types of vaccination programs. They must also be trained for management of all untoward and adverse reactions to an injection," said said Raghavendra Prasad T S, Founder, StepOne, telemedicine helping covid-19 patients in India with the various State Governments including Delhi.
“In addition to train the pharmacists, midwives and ANMs who have a far greater reach in the interiors and rural areas, must be trained in vaccination as well -- in fact, they should be the first group to be trained in vaccination when India plans to expand covid-19 vaccination program to the people in rural areas," he said adding that in future, these trained resources will play an important role in relieving the responsibilities of the doctors to a certain extent without compromising the health outcomes in people, and help India address the current, dismal doctor-patient ratio which is not as per the standard set by the World Health Organization (WHO).