India has begun vaccinating the citizens in the country and also has been sending millions of doses of vaccines to countries out there. However, besides being put to best use, some reports have also suggested that many doses of vaccines are getting wasted too.
Over 5,000 doses of the vaccine were reported to have gone to waste in some states ever since the vaccine was rolled out back on January 16. And why?
First and foremost, the main reason behind the wastage is that people in states, which have not been affected much by the virus, are not willing to get vaccinated. However, the vaccine comes in vials that consist of 10 to 20 doses of vaccine. And all the doses must be put to best use within four hours from the time a vial is opened.
Also, the vaccine needs to be administered while inclining to strict guidelines, which include storage in cold temperature and the used vaccine been thrown out within a few hours after a thawed vial has been opened.
The shrunk in turnout of people wanting the vaccine is contribute to the vaccine wastage.
“So far, 1,623 or 11% of the total vaccine doses were wasted as many beneficiaries were not available during vaccination and droplets fall while shifting it to syringes. Another thing is that we need to use one vial within four hours after which it is of no use,” said Dr Kallol Roy, Tripura’s immunisation officer.
What happens to the unused vaccine?
If the vaccine is not stored at the temperature that it demands, its potency is hampered. So the vaccine undoubtedly becomes spoiled. And if the same is administered to a patient or ever a healthy person, it can lead to a whole host of issues, including the person not being fully protected.
The vaccine is thus unfortunately thrown away.
What is being done to reduce wastage?
However, to ensure less wastage, the government has come up with an effective strategy. In case a person who was to be vaccinated doesn’t appear for vaccination, the authorities call in people who were not schedule to get vaccinated on that particular day.
Since January 16, only around 55 out of 100 people have turned up to get the vaccine. On Thursday, this number was – on an average – 49 out of every 100.
“They’re really getting flexible and trying to stretch the supply as best they can and avoid any kind of waste, because a vaccine in an arm is always going to be better than a vaccine in a trash can,” a medical expert said on the condition of anonymity.