The Health Ministry on Wednesday told States/Union Territories that there was no value in conserving vaccines for the second dose and directed that prompt supply should be ensured to all government and private hospitals where there was a demand.
In a meeting, ahead of the COVID-19 vaccination cover being extended to all those above the age of 45 from April 1, chaired by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and R.S. Sharma, chairperson, Empowered Group on COVID Vaccination, via videoconference, health secretaries and senior officials were asked to identify and take corrective action in low vaccine coverage pockets, particularly in districts showing case surge.
In a statement, the Health Ministry said States/Union Territories had been instructed to maintain vaccine wastage at less than 1% (present national wastage percentage being 6%), regularly review wastage across all levels to minimise the same and ensure timely utilisation of available stocks to avoid expiry of vaccines without usage.
States have also been told that only eligible beneficiaries should be registered and vaccinated under the category of healthcare and frontline workers and not allow any archiving of incorrect/duplicate entries on the CoWIN platform.
On vaccine stocks, while Dr. Sharma assured that there is no problem in the storage and logistics of vaccines, States have been told that there should be no sedimentation of vaccine stocks.
The Health Ministry noted that vaccine is distributed based on consumption to avoid overstocking and understocking at cold chain points and that there is regular review of vaccine stocks and consumption to identify gap areas. “States have to follow this protocol along with timely updating of data of vaccine consumption on CoWIN and eVIN portals,” said a release by the Ministry.
Regarding the involvement of private COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC)s, States were asked to conduct regular reviews of vaccinations at private CVCs on their capacity utilisation etc.