The target of keeping vaccine wastage below 1 per cent is not at all unrealistic, the Union health ministry said in a statement on Friday. Vaccination drives have to organised in a way that there is minimum wastage and many states have done that, the health ministry said, adding that vaccinators have a significant role to play in it. Since the vaccines being administered now can not be left open, the vaccinator must ensure that when a vial is opened, it has to be used within four hours.
“The vaccinator is advised to mark the date and time of opening each vial and all open vaccine vials need to be used/discarded within 4 hours of opening. Several states have organized COVID-19 Vaccination in such a way, that not only there is no wastage but they are able to extract more doses from the vial and thus show a negative wastage. Hence, the expectation that vaccine wastage should be 1% or less is not at all unreasonable. It is reasonable, desirable and achievable,” the ministry said.
The data of vaccine wastage is being centrally monitored as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed reducing the wastage. According to Centre’s data released on Friday, Kerala and West Bengal recorded negative wastage of vaccine in May while Jharkhand reported the highest with 33.95 per cent wastage. Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh reported vaccine wastage of 15.79 per cent and 7.35 per cent, respectively. Jharkhand, however, refuted the claim and said that the Centre was basing its argument on old data. The state government said its vaccine wastage is 1.5 per cent.
Accommodating at least 100 people per session can reduce vaccine wastage, the Centre has said. However, areas which are sparsely populated can not stick to this rule, but they have to ensure enough beneficiaries turn up in a session so that vaccine is not wasted.
“All States/ UTs have also been advised that each vaccination session is expected to cater to at least 100 beneficiaries, however, in the case of remote and sparsely populated areas, the State could organize a session for a lesser number of beneficiaries while ensuring that there is no vaccine wastage. A session may be planned only when adequate beneficiaries are available,” the Centre said.