Hindi daily Bhaskar had last week reported that the there has been rampant vaccine wastage in Rajasthan. They had collected over 500 vials with around 2500 doses still left in them. However the state government has been denying wastage.
On June 3, Hindi Daily Dainik Bhaskar had revealed that Covid-19 vaccines were not only thrown in the garbage in Rajasthan but were also buried haphazardly in several hospitals. It has to be noted that Raghu Sharma, Health Minister, Rajasthan, has repeatedly been insisting that vaccines were not thrown in the garbage.
Bhaskar reported that they had sent a team to further examine the vaccine wastage in hospitals of the state. A team had visited 10 hospitals in the state and had examined how vaccines vials are being discarded. In some hospitals, the reporters found 80%-filled vials discarded haphazardly in garbage heaps. The Bhaskar team then reportedly descended into a 12-feet deep pit to examine the vials that were carelessly thrown away.
In another hospital, a doctor reportedly stated that they had buried old vaccine vials.
The case of vaccine wastage in Rajasthan
Recently, Dainik Bhaskar had published a report on vaccine wastage in Rajasthan. The health minister of the state had threatened legal action against the Hindi Daily, after which the media house responded. They published a photograph of 500 vials with the batch number and expiry dates. Bhaskar said that its reporters had picked up the vials from dustbins of various vaccination centres in Rajasthan.
Hours after Dainik Bhaskar published its report posting a picture of the wasted vials to fact-check Rajasthan Health Minister’s claims of ‘misleading’ report, the minister responded. He alleged that the picture Dainik Bhaskar has posted to substantiate its claims is that of “expired and discarded” vaccines. He further claimed they had been kept in a yellow disposable bag according to the rules laid down by the Biomedical Waste Management rules of the Government of India.
Dainik Bhaskar had also revealed that during the investigation, its team had on May 28 found burnt Covid-19 vaccines in the drain near Lamba Harisingh Primary Health Center in Rajasthan’s Tonk district. When the doctor present there was asked about the burnt vial, he claimed they had burnt the empty vial.
Citing reports published in Hindi dailies ‘Dainik Bhaskar’ and ‘Rajasthan Patrika’ over high vaccine wastage in Rajasthan, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had urged Raghu Sharma to look into the matter. “The high wastage, you would agree, is not acceptable,” he had said.