At a time when several states, including Tamilnadu, have been reporting vaccine shortage, an RTI response has revealed a huge waste of doses since the commencement of vaccination drive in the country in mid-January and TN tops the list with 12.10 percent wastage followed followed by Haryana (9.74%), Punjab (8.12%), Manipur (7.8%) and Telangana (7.55%).
The RTI reply stated that over 44 lakh doses were wasted, out of 10 crore doses used by states till April 11.
With the third phase of vaccination opening up in less than two weeks for everyone above 18 years largely through private facilities, government data obtained through RTI also showed that Tamil Nadu is the only state with over 1,118 private facilities conducting vaccinations.
In comparison, Delhi, Kerala and Uttar Pradesh reporting high COVID cases have 817, 230, and 561 private facilities conducting vaccinations respectively.
Commenting on the vaccine wastage, officials from private healthcare facilities said that vaccine vials that were opened were rarely wasted and instead administered on kin of their staffers and other patients who frequented the hospitals, bypassing the registration on the CoWIN app.
The high number of private facilities administering the vaccine and the increased wastage indicate that several beneficiaries received vaccine out of turn, admitted a government official. When contacted, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said that the vaccine wastage in Tamil Nadu was not alarming as there was 13% wastage of Covaxin and 9% wastage of Covishield as against the average wastage of 10 percent. “