Vaccine wastage can lead to a snowball effect, and needs to be checked

As the nation faces a shortage of doses, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday urged state officials to ensure minimal wastage of Covid-19 vaccines.

“There is an issue of vaccine wastage. Wasting even a single dose means not being able to give a shield to a life,” said the PM during his interaction with field officials and district magistrates from 10 states.

“When vaccines are delivered to you all, we must ensure there is no wastage. You all must monitor this in both urban and rural areas. Stopping vaccine wastage is critical and you all must ensure that we do not have any (wastage),” he added.

While vaccine wastage has been decelerating, it’s still happening at a time when doses are in short supply and the number of cases across the nation is on a rise.

Where on one hand, the Centre has been telling states to keep wastage below 1%, Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month informed that over 10% of Covid-19 vaccines have been wasted in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. According to Health Ministry data released on Tuesday, among major states, Tamil Nadu wastes vaccines the most at 8.83%, followed by Assam (7.7%), Manipur (7.44%), and Haryana (5.72%).

With a large vaccination drive in action across the nation, the wastage of vaccines is unavoidable. However, with proper planning and care, the wastage can be minimised if not eliminated.

To ensure minimal wastage of vaccines, measures need to be taken to ensure vials are not damaged during transportation. A proper and constant temperature should be maintained while storing the vaccine and a temperature log should be maintained so that any deviations are quickly noticed and corrective measures are taken. And, any damaged vail should be quickly replaced.

Proper planning can also help reduce any wastage. Prioritizing vials with earlier expiry dates than the ones with a later expiry date can effectively help vaccinate larger groups and avoid wastage.

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