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States urged to keep COVID-19 vaccine wastage below 1%
By TOG News service
Mar 31, 2021

TOG NEWS SERVICE, NEW DELHI, MAR 31, 2021: A day before India expands its COVID-19 vaccination drive to cover those over 45 years of age, the Health Ministry on Wednesday advised States to keep vaccine wastage under 1 per cent.

Health Secretary Mr Rajesh Bhushan and Mr RS Sharma, Chairperson of the Empowered Group on COVID Vaccination, held an online high-level meeting with health secretaries, Statemission directors of the National Health Mission and State immunisation officers of all States and Union Territories (UTs) to review the status, pace and issues regarding COVID vaccination across the country as well as the preparations for April 1.

A key theme underlying the meet was the identification of low vaccine coverage pockets particularly in districts showing surging cases and for taking corrective actions there.

The Health Secretary asked the States to ensure there is no sedimentation of vaccine stocks at any level of storage.

"Maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1per cent (present national wastage percentage being 6 per cent). Regularly review vaccine wastage across all levels to minimise the same," he instructed.

The Centre assured that there is no shortage of vaccines and no problem in the storage and logistics. States and UTs were asked to ensure timely utilisation of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines and to update usage on the government’s CoWINand eVIN portals.

"There is no value in conserving vaccines for the second dose and States must promptly supply vaccines to all government and private hospitals where there is a demand," Mr Sharma said.

The government also asked States to review the vaccination of healthcare workers and frontline workers done so far.

India rolled out its nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme on January 16 and has administered over 6.3 crore doses across the country to healthcare workers, frontline workers, those over the age of 60 and those over 45 with co-morbidities.