New Delhi: Tamil Nadu has wasted 8.8 per cent of its Covid vaccine doses, more than any other state in the country, while Lakshadweep, with 9.76 per cent of its vaccines wasted, leads the chart for union territories, according to Union Ministry of Health data released Thursday.
Uttar Pradesh, meanwhile, has the largest stock, or “balance availability”, of vaccines. The central government estimates the state had 11,80,659 doses as of Thursday. The wastage by the state was pegged at 3.54 per cent.
The government data was released a day after Covid vaccine registration was opened for adults around the country. Starting 1 May, adults will be allowed to get vaccinated for Covid, but the latest phase of the immunisation drive comes amid reports of vaccine shortage in many states.
The government data, however, appears to negate the claim, showing the country’s overall stocks totalled 1.06 crore — 1,06,08,207 to be exact — as of Thursday. Another 20,48,890 doses are in the pipeline, the government said.
The data released Thursday includes figures on vaccine wastage — how many of the shots couldn’t be administered to people — and the stocks that remain with states. Among other things, the data reveals that some states had negative vaccine wastage.
Odisha, which had a negative vaccine wastage of (-)2.2 per cent, is believed to have done so by squeezing out an 11th dose from each vial of 10. The state, however, has contested the central government’s claim of Odisha having over 3 lakh in vaccine stocks as of 29 April.
Who wasted vaccines
According to the data, UP had the largest vaccine stocks as of 29 April followed by Maharashtra (7,49,960), Bihar (8,36,283), Jharkhand (6,46,644), and Delhi (5,62,994).
Chhattisgarh, the data states, has 3,07,164 vaccines in its stocks with another 2,00,000 on their way in the next three days. Gujarat, with 4,62,988 doses in its stocks, will receive 3,00,000 more in coming days.
As far as vaccine wastage is concerned, as many as 24 states and union territories were found to have surpassed the national average of 1.60 per cent.
Covid vaccine wastage in India can be attributed to the fact that each vial contains 10 doses, and all have to be used immediately after the vial is opened. If enough people are not present at the vaccination centre, the excess doses in the vials get wasted.
Tamil Nadu is the state with the highest vaccine wastage, followed by Assam, where the government said 7.7 per cent of the shots were wasted. The figure was 4.95 per cent for Bihar, 4.98 per cent for Punjab, and 5.72 per cent for Haryana.
On the other side of this scale are states that used their stocks to vaccinate more people than they were intended for — a parameter defined as “negative vaccine wastage” by the government.
These include Mizoram (-8.49), Goa (-4.85), and Kerala (-4.36 per cent).
Asked about the state’s presence on the list, Odisha Health Secretary Pradipta Mohapatra said they “have a vaccine wastage of -2 per cent”. “We are drawing 11 doses out of 10 vials of the vaccine, our usage is optimal at this moment.”
However, he denied the central government’s claim that the state has a stock of 3,11,000 doses. “This is not true, we are running short of vaccines. We have had to stop vaccination in 12 districts due to shortage of vaccines,” he added.
Full vaccination numbers
According to health ministry data, Maharashtra has nearly 24 lakh fully vaccinated individuals (23,93,333) — those who have received both shots — followed by Gujarat (22,67,073) and Rajasthan (21,42,588).
In Kerala, 11,76,235 people had been fully vaccinated as of Thursday.
Speaking to ThePrint, Dr Mohammad Asheel, the Executive Director of the state government’s Kerala Social Security Mission, said the state had planned to vaccinate 1.13 crore people by 20 May.
“By this measure we were supposed to vaccinate 2.5 lakh people everyday. We haven’t been able to reach this target due to shortage of vaccines. We have set up online portals to book slots for vaccination and as soon as vaccines are available at centres, the slots get booked within minutes,” he added.
The central government has so far provided states and UTs with nearly 16.16 crore vaccine doses (16,16,86,140). Of this, the total consumption, including wastage, is 15,10,77,933 doses, according to the government.
In the upcoming immunisation phase, states and private hospitals will be allowed to independently procure vaccines from manufacturers.
Inputs by Mohana Basu
(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)
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