The Union health ministry has issued detailed guidelines to the states and Union territories to ensure that there is no wastage of COVID-19 vaccines and for that purpose, the vaccinators at the session sites have been allowed to add additional beneficiaries, apart from the 100 scheduled for the day, in case they do not turn up. Responding to a question at a press conference here on how the ministry is dealing with vaccine wastage across the country, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan on Thursday said when the vaccination programme was rolled out, a 10-per cent wastage was factored in.
"We have issued detailed guidelines to the states and Union territories on how to avoid wastage of vaccines. We have made our digital platform more flexible and have permitted that apart from the scheduled 100 beneficiaries, the person handling the vaccination session at a particular site can add additional people as long as they are part of the database. This is being done to ensure that there is a lesser wastage of the vaccines. Going ahead, we would also be sharing the data of vaccine wastage as we analyse it," he said.
Bhushan said the number of people vaccinated against COVID-19 in India since the nationwide vaccination drive was rolled out had reached 25,07,556 till 2 pm on Thursday. Lakshadweep (83.4 per cent), Odisha (50.7 per cent), Haryana (50 per cent), the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (48.3 per cent), Rajasthan (46.8 per cent), Tripura (45.6 per cent), Mizoram (40.5 per cent), Telangana (40.3 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (38.1 per cent), Karnataka (35.6 per cent) and Madhya Pradesh (35.5 per cent) are among the better-performing states with an over-35-per cent vaccination coverage of healthcare workers each, he said.
On the other hand, Tamil Nadu (15.7 per cent), Delhi (15.7 per cent), Jharkhand (14.7 per cent), Uttarakhand (17.1 per cent), Chhattisgarh (20.6 per cent) and Maharashtra (20.7 per cent) have a less than 21 per cent vaccination coverage and need to improve, Bhushan said. The government has been urging healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, not to hesitate to get vaccinated against COVID-19, stressing that it is their social responsibility to get inoculated.
At a recent press conference, NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul said the concerns about adverse effects of the vaccine causing serious problems seem to be "unfounded, negligible and insignificant" as of now. "We would like to reassure you with data that these two vaccines are safe, they do not excite undue reactogenicity and are being accepted increasingly. They are also highly immunogenic," he had said.