A total of 5,57,507 Covid-19 vaccine doses that would have otherwise been an acceptable loss, were saved by the state of Gujarat in the last three months. As per an Ahmedabad Mirror report, with the cautious use of the Covid-19 vaccine doses, the state’s current vaccine wastage stands in the negative at -3%.
The Centre in the month of March had directed the states to keep wastage at just 1% by extracting extra doses from the vials. Acting as per orders, 22 districts and eight major cities of Gujarat extracted a substantial amount of extra doses keeping the vaccine wastage to a minimum.
Administered 11 doses per vial
While the vaccine labels mention 10 doses per vial it usually holds one extra which is more often than not discarded as wastage. However, the vaccinators made sure to extract all 11 doses from each vial.
The last dose is usually wasted in syringe filling, lack of beneficiaries, error by a vaccinator or simply supply chain issues which are counted as an acceptable loss.
Saurashtra and three major cities most efficient
In terms of vaccine management, rural Junagadh performed the best by extracting 13% more doses than normal while Junagadh city managed to save 9% of the total doses allotted.
Similarly, rural Rajkot saved 10% and the city extracted 8% more doses. However, leading the chart was Ahmedabad which managed to save, extract and administer the highest number of extra doses in the last three months.
Following Ahmedabad that saved a whopping 1.09 lakh doses is Surat city that extracted 95,263 extra doses.
While some districts managed to outperform, the Gujarat Covid-19 task force is now focused on reducing vaccine wastage in other districts. Valsad recorded the highest number of vaccine doses wastage (13,574), followed by 12,701 in rural Ahmedabad.
Commenting on the vaccine management efficiency, Dr Naveen Thacker, member of Gujarat Covid Vaccine Task Force said to Ahmedabad Mirror, “While it is commendable Gujarat has extracted a large number of doses, it is currently very hard to say why wastage has taken place in some areas. A monitoring mechanism is in place, proformas are there to report wastage and we have the data now, but it needs to be analyzed and action needs to be taken.”
“We need to speak to vaccinators and communities to find out what’s happening and this needs to be rectified. And, this needs to be done now because as vaccine coverage increases, wastage will also increase if this is not sorted out immediately,” he added.
“The allowable wastage for the Covid vaccine was 10% but the current wastage of 4-6% is low and quite appreciable. On the field, even 10/10 doses is an over-expectation. The wastage problem is higher in sparsely populated and tribal areas since the number of beneficiaries are few and far between. Vaccinators have to go to remote villages also to administer doses. Similar trends of more wastage in such tribal pockets have been seen in earlier vaccine campaigns also,” said Dr Anish Sinha, of IIPHG.
India has administered 47,41,32,992 Covid-19 vaccine doses till date.