India is likely to begin administering the first round of Covid-19 vaccines to healthcare and essential service workers in January, and pharmacists may be deployed to administer the vaccine in the second phase, according to a Business Standard report.
According to the report, which cites an official, India has enough trained vaccinators to administer the first shots of the Covid-19 vaccine to the first 3 crore people but may need more vaccinators as the government is targeting 30 crore shots by June 2021. The official also said that final-year MBBS and nursing students will need to be deployed in addition to the auxiliary midwife workforce, and healthcare workers.
According to the official, pharmacists are also likely to be roped into the vaccination programme as the government seeks to make it a mass movement.
Jagannath Shinde, chairman, All Indian Origin Chemists & Distributors, said that India's 8 lakh pharmacists will likely be enthusiastic if they are asked to participate in the vaccination programme and that they are already training people to administer insulin injections.
However, regulations do not permit pharmacists to administer vaccines, and changes may be needed to enlist them for the programme.
For training and certifying the vaccinators, the government may fall back to the Healthcare Sector Skill Council, a certifying organisation under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, to prepare the vaccinator force for the programme.