Health officials were left red-faced on Tuesday after Covid vaccine boxes were transported on a bicycle to Varanasi’s District Women’s Hospital at Kabir Chaura from the vaccine storage centre at the Government Hospital, Chauka Ghat during the dry run of the vaccine that began at six centres at 10 am.
Chief medical officer (CMO) Dr VB Singh has sought a written explanation on the issue from the cold chain handler looking after the arrangement of vaccine transportation to the hospital from the storage centre.
“The dry run was completed at district women hospital, Kabir Chaura successfully. A vaccine porter transported the vaccine carrier (boxes) on a bicycle to the District Women Hospital from Urban CHC, Chauka Ghat. As the matter came to light, the porter was asked to go back to the Urban CHC, Chauka Ghat. In this regard, an explanation has been sought from the cold chain handler working at Chauka Ghat based Town hall Vaccine Distribution Center as to why he sent the porter while the vaccine carriers were already kept for the Corona Vaccination to be done in the coming days,” he said.
During the actual transportation of vaccines, the cold chain will have to be maintained and all vaccines would be transported in an AC van from storage centres to hospitals, officials said.
Dr Singh said the dry run was completed successfully.
“Dry run (mock drill) of Covid-19 vaccination at pre-determined six sites, including District Women’s Hospital, Kabir Chaura, Urban Community Health Center, Shivpur, Community Health Centre (CHC) Haathi, CHC Misirpur , PHC Pindra and Heritage Hospital in the district was completed successfully. Dry run means the rehearsal of vaccination was done without applying Covid-19 vaccine,” he said in a statement.
District magistrate Kaushalraj Sharma said that there was no real vaccine in the dry run. Dry run was done using empty boxes, he said.
“The vaccine storage point is already established at the Women Hospital. During the dry run, vaccine was not to be sent to the Women Hospital from Chauka Ghat. Therefore, a vehicle was not planned for the same,” Sharma said.
The DM also said that a show cause notice has been issued to the cold chain handler at Chauka Ghat for sending the vaccine boxes by bicycle.
He said a real vaccination round will be organised on the basis of feedback received in the dry run.
Health department officials conceded that although it was merely a dry run, the transportation of the vaccine boxes in a bicycle was considered a lapse.
“That’s because the dry run was held to ensure that such a lapse doesn’t occur during actual transportation,” an official said.
“Twenty-five people in each of the 6 centres were present during the vaccine’s dry run,” he said.