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Covid-19 vaccine doses going in waste in some states due to hesitancy: Report

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on January 21, 2021

A medic vaccinates a healthworker with Covishield vaccine during a countrywide inoculation drive against Covid-19 at Thane Civil Hospital, Wednesday, January 20   -  PTI

The state officials revealed that the vials can be used within four hours once they get opened. And, if people do not volunteer to receive the vaccine, the doses will be wasted

As the nationwide vaccination drive goes in full swing, authorities are concerned that the vaccine doses are getting spoiled because people are not turning up for the inoculation.

Health officials in six states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Bihar and Assam, raised concerns over the low turnout for the Covid-19 vaccine.

The state officials revealed that the vials can be used within four hours once they get opened. And, if people do not volunteer to receive the vaccine, the doses will be wasted.

They stressed that the prevalence of vaccine hesitancy in the country is leading to millions of inventories getting stockpiled, Hindustan Times reported.

Also read: India is no leader in vaccine research

By 6 pm on Wednesday, 786,842 people were vaccinated in the 14,119 sessions held since the launch on January 16, as per the Union Health Ministry dashboard.

However, this accounted for a coverage rate of 55 per cent — per day. 100 people are expected to turn up per session. However, the turnout remained almost half.

According to experts cited in the HT report, the Centre should open access to vaccines for the general public if targets are not being met.

Furthermore, the officials in the six states maintained that the overall wastage was less than the 10 per cent margin that they had assumed. Also, the wastage of vaccines was not uniform. More doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin had been spoiled since they were in vials of 20.

Also read: Boost for health; Health budget should go beyond vaccines and take a long-term view

Meanwhile, other states such as Punjab, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh reported negligible wastage of doses, HT report added.

In Assam, the wastage happened due to some logistical error.

Addressing the media, VK Paul, chairman of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC) said, as cited in the Wire report: “Please understand there is a big clamor for Covid-19 vaccines globally. On the other hand, here in our country, we have developed two vaccines on our own and people are shunning them. This is very sad.”

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Published on January 21, 2021
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