By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Oct. 29: The Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) has held a six-day-long training program for the health workers to enhance their skills on handling and vaccination of Pfizer vaccine.
Started on October 26, the training is to end on October 31.
Pfizer is being administered for the first time in the country and its handling, particularly storage ways, is something new for the health personnel.
According to Bharat Bhandari, Immunisation Officer at Child Health and Immunisation Section said that training is being provided to health workers as well as medical personnel of the 24 designated hospitals where the Pfizer vaccine will be administered from November 14.
One doctor, two health workers, and one data recorder of each 24 listed hospitals and one health chief, programme focal person and vaccine cold chain focal person from the district where the designated hospital is located are being imparted the training. Along with this, one from each directive of Province of Health Branch and director from supply management centers as well as focal person of the programme of the wards where the designated hospitals are located are attending the program, Bhandari informed The TRN Online.
He said that eight groups are formed on a provincial basis and one-day training is given to each group with an aim to educate health workers about the ultra-cold chain procedure and its management and along with preparing health workers for the smooth administration of Pfizer vaccines.
“The government wants to ensure a smooth Pfizer vaccination campaign as ultra-cold chain storage and administration of Pfizer is new to the country. So, the training is being held for handling responsibilities, ensuring that health personnels are equipped and ready for further vaccination campaign as well as to efficiently manage the whole ultra-cold chain storage system till vaccination,” said Bhandari.
There is a three-way process of maintaining cold chain management of the Pfizer vaccine. First, maintenance of minus 60 degrees Celsius to minus 80 degrees Celsius temperature from storage till vaccination, second, maintenance of minus 15 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius, which must be administered within 14 days of taking it out from ultra-cold storage, He added.
“However, Nepal does not have storage of minus 15 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius, so we are opting for plus two degrees Celsius – plus eight degrees Celsius, after which vaccine must be administered within 3 days,” He said.
Bhandari further informed that even cold chain storage managers of the country are not accustomed to maintaining ultra-cold chain storage, also, health workers who are assigned to inoculate Pfizer vaccine will find it new. Therefore, training is being conducted to equip everyone associated with storage and administration part for the upcoming Pfizer vaccine campaign and to avert possible accidents.
According to Upendra Dhungana, Chief of Supply Division, Department of Health Services, 1,00620 doses of Pfizer vaccine received from the COVAX facility will be administered to people aged 12 and above having chronic illness from November 14.
Even though the government has decided to administer Pfizer for the 12 to 17 age group, it is administering people aged 12 and above, having a chronic illness as only limited vaccines have arrived.