New Delhi: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) has offered its members and branches to assist in the rollout of Covid-19 immunisation programme when a vaccine is available.
Rajan Sharma, President of the apex body of private practitioners in India, informed IANS that it had proposed voluntary services of its three lakh members across the country to assist in the Covid-19 vaccination programme of the government.
“It’s a voluntary service to the nation, and none of our members would charge a single penny for their labour,” he stated.
Sharma said that the organisation is ready and well equipped with 1,750 local branches spread in almost every district of the country.
“Our presence is everywhere, even in the remote and hilly areas as well,” he said.
“An effective top to down command and control is in place with 28 state branches. Most of the members have a small team of nurses for their professional practice. A large number of small and medium hospitals and nursing homes in sub-district towns are run by IMA members. Such practitioners are available even in remote, hilly districts and areas not easily accessible,” he said.
Sharma also said that the members of the IMA already have the hands-on experience of immunisation which is an additional factor to induct them in the vaccination drive.
“Many of them have taken part in the Pulse Polio and many such government welfare programs of immunisation. I’m sure they will be of great help,” he added.
Besides, since the vaccines have to be provided as per cold chain conditions along with the disposables, the services by IMA would act as a force amplifier for the vaccination programme and substantially increase the number of outlets available for the people, Sharma said.
Currently, five vaccine candidates are undergoing clinical trials in India and are in different stages of trials. These include vaccines developed by Oxford University – AstraZeneca, Bharat Biotech, Cadila, Biological E – Baylor College of Medicine and Gamaleya Research Institute, Moscow.
Bharat Biotech Ltd and Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) has begun phase-III trials of Covaxin. Serum Institute of India (SII), which inked a deal with Oxford-Astrazeneca for manufacturing their vaccine candidate, has finished enrolment for Phase-III Covishield vaccine, supported by the ICMR.
SII has already manufactured 40 million doses of the vaccine, under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license from Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). Meanwhile, Ahmedabad-based Cadila Healthcare is currently finishing phase-II trials of its vaccine candidate.