Coimbatore dt. achieves negative vaccine wastage as health workers find ‘extra dose’

July 06, 2021 11:18 pm | Updated 11:18 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The wastage of COVID-19 vaccines while administering doses to beneficiaries was about 4 % when the vaccination drive started in the district.

With high demand for vaccines and skilful administration of doses available in each vial, the district has achieved ‘negative wastage’, according to the Health Department. An official in charge of the vaccination programme said the district was seeing negative wastage in the last one to two months as the health workers were able to tap the ‘extra dose’ available in vials. “Wastage occurred in the initial stages of the vaccination drives when people did not turn up as expected. Now the demand is on the higher side and there is no wastage,” said S. Senthil Kumar, Deputy Director of Health Services.

The wastage factor was calculated by comparing the total vials utilised with the total number of doses administered, he said.

COVID-19 vaccines available for use in the country are coming in multi-dose vials and they are advised to be used within four hours after opening.

They also lack a vaccine vial monitor, a heat-sensitive material on the label which registers cumulative heat exposure over time.

Due to the general practice of filling extra vaccine in vials, which is known as overfill, a vial of 5 ml will contain more than 5 ml of vaccine. A skilled health worker will be able to draw more than 10 doses of .5 ml each from a vial, depending on the overfill volume.

“We were allotted vials for 100 doses on Tuesday. But the staff were able to vaccinate 128 people by utilising the maximum out of the overfill which varies from vial to vial,” said S. Cheralathan, Chief Medical Officer of Government Hospital, Periyanaickenpalayam. He pointed out that the syringes used for vaccination, .5ml syringe with short needle, reduced the dead space - volume of vaccine retained in the syringe after administration.

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