At least 2.3 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been wasted in India according to health officials.
The Indian government has procured more than 70 million vaccine doses off which more than 34.6 million have been administered and around 6.5% of Covid-19 vaccines were wasted.
India has approved two Covid-19 vaccines for its inoculation drive – the Oxford-Astrazeneca Covid-19 vaccine which is locally branded as Covishield and another called Covaxin.
Each Covishield vial has 10 doses in total, while a Covaxin vial contains 20 doses. Each dose is for one person. Once opened, all doses have to be administered within four hours, otherwise, it goes to waste and the remaining doses have to be destroyed.
The vaccine wastage in India can largely be attributed to low turnout beneficiaries turning up to get vaccinated.
“Single-dose vials are not cost-effective and have packaging and transportation issues. These vaccines are manufactured for masses. So, we need more and more people to be coming in to get inoculated,” Dr Suresh Kumar, medical director of LNJP Hospital said.
Medical experts have suggested that the problem of wastage of vaccine doses could also be solved by expanding the eligibility criteria for vaccination instead of just focusing on the elderly and people above the age of 45 with co-morbidities.