In India, COVID-19 vaccine wastage is 6.5% – here’s why doses are thrown away

New Delhi: Amid a spike in coronavirus cases across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday (March 17) stressed on the need to stop COVID-19 vaccine wastage. 

As per the Ministry of Health, average COVID-19 vaccine wastage stands at 6.5 per cent in India with Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh topping the charts. 

What entails vaccine wastage?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), vaccine wastage includes any dose discarded, lost, damaged or destroyed. 

One of the reasons for COVID-19 vaccination wastage is low turn up and poor planning. After a vial is opened, the healthcare workers have only a few hours to administer them. In case of low turn up of people, the dose gets wasted and has to be thrown away. 

The health officials told Moneycontrol that chances of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin being wasted was more than SII’s Covishield, as the former is available in 20 doses per vial, which means 20 people are needed for one vial. Bharat Biotech has assured that it will aim to make 10 doses per vial available soon.

Vaccine wastage also happens when vials are exposed to heat or get frozen.

In a virtual meeting with the Chief Ministers of states and Union Territories on Wednesday, the PM had said, “Over 10% vaccine wastage in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. Vaccine wastage in UP is almost the same. It should be reviewed in states why vaccine wastage is happening. Monitoring must be done every evening and pro-active people should be contacted so that there’s no wastage in every state.” 

PM Modi asserted that wasting a vaccine is taking away a person’s right and directed states to work on targeting zero wastage. 


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