Tamil Nadu has reported the highest wastage of COVID vaccines across India since the inoculation drive began in the country in January, as per reply under the Right to Information Act, NDTV reported.
States wasted more than 44 lakh doses out of 10 crore doses used till April 11, RTI revealed.
Tamil Nadu reported the highest waste – 12.10 per cent, followed by Haryana (9.74%), Punjab (8.12%), Manipur (7.8%) and Telangana (7.55%).
The least wastage was reported from Kerala followed by West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Goa, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep. There was ‘zero wastage’ of doses in these states, said the RTI reply.
The alleged wastage of the precious vaccines recently led to a slanging match between Maharashtra and the Centre. On April 9, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that the State had ‘wasted’ more than 5 lakh doses. “This means 6% wastage, of over 5 lakh doses,”. Javadekar said. Responding to his charge, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said the wastage quoted is “actually national average wastage percentage”. He said the state’s wastage is lesser than half of the national average wastage percentage.
The wastage in unopened vials can be ascribed to expiry date; if the vaccine is exposed to heat; if it has been frozen; breakage; missing inventory and theft; and while discarding unused vials returned from a vaccination site.
Wastage in opened vials can occur due to various reasons: while discarding remaining doses at the end of the session; inability to draw the number of doses in a vial; submergence of opened vials in the water; suspected contamination; and poor vaccine administration practices.
The government has reportedly cleared a proposal to give advance funds to the two firms manufacturing vaccines in India — Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech.
Early this month Serum Institute of India had sought ₹ 3,000 crore from the Union government to scale up manufacturing of Covishield vaccine beyond the 100 million doses/month rate that it will reach by May-end.