J'khand sends letter to union ministry seeking rectification of vaccine wastage data;Centre agrees

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(Eds:Incorporating centre's response, adding detail) Ranchi, May 28 (PTI) At loggerheads with the Centre over vaccine wastage data, the Jharkhand government on Friday said the union ministry has agreed to rectify the state wastage data after it pointed out that CoWIN portal till May 27 erroneously showed state's wastage figure at '38.45' per cent, much higher than the actual.

The assurance was given during a video conference between the union health ministry officials with the health ministry officials of the four states including Jharkhand, officials said.

The Jharkhand government had on Thursday night shot off a letter to set the record right close on the heels of Chief Minister Hemant Soren trashing the centre's vaccine wastage data for Jharkhand.

'After Jharkhand raised the issue of wrong portrayal of wastage data which was shown much higher than the actual wastage which is even less than 4.63 per cent, the central government officials during a video conference with state officials have agreed to rectify the same,' State Health Minister Banna Gupta told PTI.

Gupta said the wastage should be in the range of 4 to 4.5 per cent which is even lesser than the national average of 6.3 per cent.

The video conference was participated by health officials of four states - Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Jammu & Kashmir, an official said.

Earlier, Jharkhand nodal officer for vaccination A Dodde told PTI, 'If wastage figures are rectified on the basis of data attached with the letter sent by us to the centre, the wastage figure will come below 4.63 per cent.' Union Health Ministry in a statement on May 25 had said despite urging states repeatedly to keep vaccine wastage below 1 per cent, many states such as Jharkhand (37.3 pc) were reporting much higher wastage than the national average (6.3 pc).

In return, Jharkhand had contested, saying it is wrong to project vaccine wastage proportion is as high as 37.3 per cent in the state whereas the fact remained that it is much below the national average and currently stands at 4.63 per cent.

Chief minister Soren had lashed out at the centre, saying how can one imagine that Jharkhand will allow its 'suraksha kavach' (protective gear) to go waste? CoWIN portal developed by the central government for the vaccination programme displays the vaccine wastage data for Jharkhand at 38.45 per cent till May 27.

'Jharkhand's total wastage of doses is projected as 38.45 per cent on CoWIN portal till May 27...A list of session sites with actual data is attached with the letter so that after rectification of CoWIN portal correct status could be projected,' Project Director, National Health Mission wrote to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry on May 27 night.

A review at state level assessed that human errors and typo by certain vaccinators in the course of data entry on CoWIN portal combined with certain glitches during wastage calculation on CoWIN software resulted in portrayal of higher wastage than actual, the letter mentioned.

'Whereas states have been urged repeatedly to keep vaccine wastage below 1 per cent, many states such as Jharkhand (37.3 pc), Chhattisgarh (30.2 pc), Tamil Nadu (15.5 pc), Jammu and Kashmir (10.8 pc), Madhya Pradesh (10.7 pc) are reporting much higher wastage than the national average (6.3 pc),' the union health ministry had said on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, retweeting his party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's (JMM) tweet, Soren said only 48 lakh vaccine jabs have been made available to the state against 3.25 crore eligible population while Gujarat could get 1.62 crore jabs so far for 6.2 crore population.

Chattissgarh too has rejected the centre's claim about high vaccine wastage claiming wastage of COVID-19 shots below one per cent in the state.

The union government created CoWIN portal and said all immunisations will be part of the National Vaccination Programme and it will be captured on CoWIN platform along with stocks and price per vaccination applicable in all inoculation centres.

The platform sees immunization management and reporting.

Contining with his tirade against the union government on vaccination issue, Soren has slammed the centre for 'launching vaccination drive without preparedness'.

Soren Thursday said the state is facing an acute shortage of vaccines with jabs for 18-44 age group almost over and hardly two to three days vaccines left for the people above the age of 45 years.

Accusing the centre of 'no transparency in vaccine allocation', he said under the circumstance he was left with no other option than to appeal to the companies operating in the state to come forward for vaccination of communities in their areas.

'We are facing acute shortages of vaccines. The vaccine stock for the 18-44 age group is almost over and there is hardly two to three days stock for people above 45 years.'We have raised the demand for vaccines but there is no clarity...There is no transparency in vaccine allocation,' Soren had said.

Earlier,opposition BJP had attacked the JMM-Congress-RJD coalition government and sought to know as who is responsible for such a high wastage of vaccine in the state.

Asserting how can a state allow about 18 lakh of doses go waste, Soren had said it was explained to the centre that poor connectivity in forest areas and lack of network issues are behind slow updation of data.

'However, the centre seems hell-bent to project things in a poor light which is causing problem to poor states like Jharkhand. This is why the state had gone to the Supreme Court for allowing its platform for vaccination,' Soren had said.

Officials had said total vaccines supplied to all districts was 48.63 lakh while total vaccines utilised was 40.12 lakh and the wastage percentage comes to 4.63 per cent.

The state had said it had 6.56 lakh doses of vaccines available with it.

Fearing exclusion of a large chunk of the tribal people in the ongoing vaccination drive against COVID-19 due to non- availability of smartphones among many of them and access to internet in remote areas, the Jharkhand government had earlier filed a plea with the Supreme Court for directions to use its own 'more user-friendly' JHAR-WIN app for registration.PTI NAM SNS SNS 05281637 NNNN SNS SNS