Vaccination drive ramps up

THE country is preparing to kick its vaccination programme into high gear as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage around the world, with plans for new centres and roving teams that could potentially deliver more than 70,000 shots daily across the island.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) wants to appoint a vendor to set up 36 Covid-19 vaccination centres from February, according to tender documents seen by The Straits Times.

These centres should be able to cater to at least 2,000 people a day.

The vendor will also set up 10 mobile teams to provide mass vaccinations for sites such as nursing homes. The centres and teams will be set up progressively and the number required is subject to change.Vaccination sites could include vacant schools, community clubs and sports halls. The assigned vaccination centres will operate for up to 12 months.

With the nation aiming to complete all vaccinations this year, appointed vendors will also have to make sure that vaccines are stored and handled properly, and that supply is sufficient.

This includes ensuring strict compliance with the cold chain management of the Covid-19 vaccines, which must be transported in a temperature-controlled environment every step of the way.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has to be stored at -70°C. It is the only one approved here to date.

Vendors must also coordinate the delivery of vaccines to ensure that there are sufficient stocks, on top of making sure that there are enough emergency supplies and equipment on standby in case of adverse allergic reactions.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines can be kept at normal refrigeration temperature for just five days once they are taken out of frozen storage.

The mobile vaccination teams will comprise a medical doctor, four nurses and three administration staff, and will operate from 8am to 6pm daily.

The vaccination centres should operate from 8am to 10pm daily, and only the National Appointment System should be used for appointments and updating vaccination records.MOH said in its tender that the appointed vendor will form part of its panel of Covid-19 vaccination resources, and that other vendors or in-house resources may be sought to administer vaccines where appropriate. — The Straits Times/ANN

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