The Government of India is keen to attain global standards for its Immunization Program and several initiatives have been taken recently in this direction. As India hopes to reach at least 90% full immunization coverage over the next five years, it is critical to strengthen the immunization supply chain in the country. With the advent of newer technologies in temperature monitoring, cold chain storage and transportation equipment especially using green energy, stock and inventory management, there is a high potential to improve the existing system.
There have been significant developments in the field of immunization supply chain in India like the introduction of newer and underutilized vaccines such as Pentavalent, IPV and Rota Virus Vaccine in the National Immunization Schedule, which are highly temperature (freeze) sensitive, costly and require larger cold chain space. The effectiveness of the program depends largely on a functional end-to-end Immunization Supply Chain system, which plays a pivotal role in ensuring the uninterrupted availability of quality vaccines from the level of the manufacturer to that of the beneficiary. This is to avoid any missed opportunities to vaccinate, due to unavailability of vaccines.
The objective of the Handbook is to enable the cold chain handlers to efficiently manage the vaccines and cold chain system. It aims to equip them with the required technical and practical guidance for taking initiatives on their own to devise the most appropriate solution suiting their field circumstances. It is a significant effort to illustrate how technical and operational issues can be addressed in the field in order to maintain potency, safety and supply of vaccines.
The Handbook will also prove useful in understanding of various immunization related Management Information Systems (MIS) such as National Cold Chain Management Information System (NCCMIS), electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) etc.
New Concept's mandate was to edit and design the Handbook.