If temperature rises, vaccine will lose its potency

Coimbatore Corporation has decided to power deep freezers and ice-lined refrigerators with generators to overcome power cut.

Commissioner in-charge S. Sivarasu told The Hindu that the civic body would install the generators at 10 of its 20 maternity homes in the city so that it could store and later use oral polio and penta valent vaccines at the right temperature for safe administration.

The 10 centres that would go without generators would store their vaccines at the generator-powered centres

The vaccines the State Government supplies are temperature-sensitive and need to be maintained in cold storage facilities that maintain temperature around 5 degrees Celsius.

At the time of administering the oral polio vaccine, the temperature should remain the same. If the temperature rises, the vaccine loses its potency.

Mr. Sivarasu said that the Corporation had hired the generators for six days – from January 18 to 23 – so that the vaccines were available at the right temperature even for the door-to-door campaign that would follow the pulse polio campaign (immunisation drive) on January 20.

Refrigerators

As is the practice, the Corporation’s health wing officials store the oral polio vaccine vials in the ice-lined refrigerators and ice packs in deep freezers.

In the latter, the temperature is minus 20 degrees Celsius.

Icepacks are water-filled plastic box-like containers with cavities for storing vaccine vials in transport. They ought to be maintained at minus 20 degrees Celsius for the temperature of vaccine vials to be kept at 5 degrees Celsius.

On the day of the immunisation drive, the health wing staff would carry the vaccine vials in ice boxes containing the ice packs. Every two or three hours, the staff at the maternity centres would take fresh icepacks from the deep freezers for reinforcement.

This was to maintain temperature, the officials said.

Mr. Sivarasu said that the Corporation would incur only around Rs. 1.50 lakh – a small amount considering the importance of the programme and health of the children to be immunized.

Health Committee Chairperson S. Thamarai Selvi said that the Corporation had identified 1,30,000 children in the zero to five age group to administer the vaccines. It had readied 196 centres for the purpose.

Corporation appeal: The Corporation has urged all residents in the city with children below the age of five to ensure that their children take part in the first phase of 18th annual Pulse Polio Programme to be held on Sunday (January 20).

In a statement issued here, Deputy Commissioner S. Sivarasu said that polio drops administered in the campaign were completely safe and could be administered to children even if they were sick.

The booths, which would be open between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., have been set up in health Centres of the Corporation, anganwadis and noon meal centres. The drops would be administered completely free of cost.

Besides mobile booths, the civic body has also established vaccination centres in railway junction and bus stands to reach out to those arriving from other States, he added.

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