March 21, 2021 1:23:25 am
AT 22 PER CENT, Gadchiroli has wasted most vaccine doses in Maharashtra, official records show. District officials have now been asked to train healthcare workers in judicious usage. Gadchiroli is also among the three districts, along with Hingoli and Sindhudurg, which has reported the lowest turnout for vaccination.
Mumbai, which has clocked maximum vaccinations at 81.16 lakh, has recorded only 1.1 per cent of wastage. The city has wasted at least 74,472 doses, data till March 17 shows.
In a meeting with all districts, the public health department has directed that healthcare workers be trained in extracting 0.5 ml of vaccine dose for each recipient from a vial of 5 ml and ensure that vaccine carriers and iced line refrigerators are kept running at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
Vaccine wastage can occur due to various reasons. Each vial has 10 doses. Once opened, a vial has to be used within six hours, else the doses are wasted. If only one or two persons turn up for vaccination at a particular centre, it may lead to wastage of the remaining doses in a vial. Similarly, lack of proper storage and exposure to heat can spoil a vaccine. Vaccine wastage can also occur when transportation and storage temperature is improper.
In his Wednesday meeting with chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had raised concerns over vaccine wastage and asked states to reduce it. Telangana has reported highest wastage at 17.6 per cent. Maharashtra’s wastage rate stands at 5 per cent. The state has vaccinated 40.96 lakh people so far. On Friday, 2.56 lakh vaccinations were recorded. Starting next week, the state plans to scale up daily vaccinations to three lakh.
Officials in Mumbai said the city’s wastage reduced after the drive was opened for people above 60 years and those above 45 with comorbidities.
Gadchiroli’s Health Officer, Dr Shashikant Shambharkar, said they are witnessing an extremely poor turnout in tribal primary health centres (PHC). “In centres where very few people come, vials are not fully utilised. We have instructed vaccine centres to wait until 10 people arrive before opening a vial,” he said. The centres are backed up by generator in case of powercuts, he added.
In Nandurbar, also a tribal district like Gadchiroli with poor turnout, the wastage rate is at 4.5 per cent. District officials said they have instructed all centres to allow more than five persons to gather before a vial is opened. “That has helped us keep wastage in check,” said Dr Nitin Borke, the District Health Officer (DHO). Amravati has reported a wastage rate of 2 to 3 per cent and Solapur 3.53 per cent.
In Palghar, which is also noting a poor turnout, Malwada PHC medical officer Dr Vijay Thakkar said their wastage rate is down to 6 per cent after they started waiting for more people before opening a vial. “This would mean the wait time for some gets longer. But it helps us save doses,” he added.
Initially, centres giving Covaxin were recording wastage due to a poor turnout. That has improved now as takers for Covaxin has increased following its phase 3 preliminary trial results.
In Solapur, while Covaxin wastage rate is at 1.6 per cent, for Covishield, it is 3.56 per cent. “Covaxin is administered only in the medical college. Since it is immunising mostly health workers, there is better coordination and the wastage is less. Covishield is administered from all remaining centres,” said DHO Dr Shitalkumar Jadhav.
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