State takes up issue with Centre
GUWAHATI, April 10: Vaccine shortage will persist in Assam during the four-day ‘Tika Utsav’ called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Sunday, with no intimation from the Centre regarding the dispatch of the next consignment to the State.
Official sources said State’s Principal Secretary (health) Samir Sinha on Saturday took up the matter with National Health Mission Deputy Commissioner (immunisation) Dr Pradeep Haldar and officials of the Union Health Ministry.
Simultaneously, the Director of Health Services (Family Welfare) Munindra Nath Ngatey also wrote a second letter to the Government of India informing about the shortage.
Just around 2.30 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be available in the State from Sunday.
Significantly, the Prime Minister had appealed to the chief ministers of all states and Union territories to organise a ‘Tika Utsav’ or vaccine festival to inoculate as many people as possible against the coronavirus from April 11 to 14.
Till date, 14.82 lakh people have received the vaccine in the State, of which 12.40 lakh got the first jab and 2.42 lakh got the second dose as well.
In order to ensure continuity, the vaccines are being mobilized in sites where there is more demand, particularly those in urban centres. As such, some smaller session sites have been closed in the State.
The vaccine wastage rate in the State so far has been 5.6 per cent for Covishield and 14 per cent for Covaxin. The State has received 15.91 lakh doses of Covishield vaccine and 3.40 lakh doses of Covaxin.
Covishield has registered lower wastage because one vial of the vaccine contains lesser doses (10) than Covaxin (20 doses).
“Once you open a vial, the vaccine lasts for only four hours. One has to administer the doses within that time. In some cases, the vaccinators could not finish the doses within four hours due to low turnout of beneficiaries. For example, if there are 45 people in a session site, four vials will be fully used, while five doses in the fifth vial will go waste,” a vaccinator explained.
Also, in case of Covaxin, there was initial hesitancy among beneficiaries which contributed to the wastage. Now, the Covaxin vaccine is also coming in vials of ten doses to reduce the wastage.