As the vaccinators at the session sites can add more people or beneficiaries instead of 'targeted 100 beneficiaries in a day at a particular vaccination site', the Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that all the states and union territories must ensure that there is no wastage of COVID-19 vaccines.
"When we started the COVID-19 vaccination programme, we had factored in at 10% wastage across the country. We have issued very detailed guidelines to the states and UTs about how to avoid wastage of vaccines. We have made our digital platform more flexible and we have permitted that apart from the schedule hundred people, the person who is handling the vaccination session at a particular site can add additional people as long as they are part of the database," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan responded to a question while addressing a media briefing.
"Going ahead, we would also be sharing the data of vaccine wastage as we analyse it," he said. The Health Ministry also informed that India has become the fastest country to reach the first 1 million vaccinations in 6 days while the US took 10 days, Spain - 12 days, Israel - 14 days, UK - 18 days, Italy - 19 days, Germany - 20 days and UAE - 27 days.
While expressing concerns, he said that there are several states who need to improve their performance of vaccination. States such as Jharkhand - 14% vaccination, Delhi - 15%, Tamil Nadu - 15%, Uttarakhand - 17%, Chhattisgarh - 20% and Maharashtra - 20% are among those that require improvements in vaccination performance.
Whereas, Lakshadweep - where 83% of healthcare workers were vaccinated, Odisha - 51% beneficiaries vaccinated, and Haryana - 59% vaccinated, were among the states that did better in vaccination. The Health Secretary expressed 'deep appreciation' for these states and Union Territories for covering a large number of beneficiaries in a short time.
Addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy among health care workers, the Health Ministry urged them to fulfil their social responsibility by getting vaccinated against COVID-19.
NITI Aayog Member (Health) Dr VK Paul had recently said at a press briefing that issue related to adverse events pertaining to vaccines "is unfounded, negligible and insignificant" while asserting that the data from the two vaccines (Covidshield and Coxavin) is assuring that the vaccines are safe and are being accepted increasingly.