A day before India opens its vaccination drive to include everyone above the age of 45 years, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan asked states and Union territories to keep vaccine wastage below 1 per cent.
Bhushan and Dr RS Sharma, Chairperson of Empowered Group on COVID Vaccination chaired a high-level meeting via video conference on Wednesday with Health Secretaries, State Mission Directors of NHM and State Immunization officers of all States to review the status, pace and issues regarding COVID vaccination across the country.
A key area underlying the meet was the identification of low vaccine coverage pockets particularly in districts showing a surge in cases and for taking corrective actions.
The health secretary assured the local authorities of no vaccine shortage and said the Centre is distributing vaccines among states based on consumption to avoid overstocking as well as under-stocking at cold chain points and Covid-19 vaccination centres.
The Centre also asked states to review the vaccination of health care workers and front-line workers done so far. The Centre asked states to archive incorrect or duplicate entries on Co-WIN platform, to identify low vaccine coverage areas and finally ensure that vaccination of these two priority groups can be wrapped up.
Following is a list of advisories the Centre issued to the states and UTs
– Maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1% (present National Wastage Percentage being 6%). – Regularly review vaccine wastage across all levels to minimise the same. – Ensure timely utilisation of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines without usage. – Timely updating of data of vaccine consumption to be ensured on CoWIN & eVIN portals.
Dr Sharma said "there is no value in conserving vaccines for the second dose" and states must promptly supply vaccines to all government and private hospitals where there is a demand.