At a time when there has been a shortage of vaccines in several Indian states, and the government is ramping up measures to manufacture more doses, five Indian states have reported huge wastage of vaccines since the country began its inoculation program this January, a Right to Information reply has revealed.
As reported by NDTV, Tamil Nadu reported the highest vaccine wastage of over 12 per cent, followed by Haryana (9.74%), Punjab (8.12%), Manipur (7.8%) and Telangana (7.55%), according to the centre’s response to the RTI query.
Reportedly, over 44 lakh doses were wasted out of 10 crore doses used by states till April 11.
The RTI filed by Vivek Pandey and reported by NDTV also reveals that eight states namely, Kerala, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Goa, Daman and Diu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well as Lakshadweep had ‘zero wastage’.
Vaccine shortage has rather triggered a political upheaval, between the centre and states. The worst hit states like Maharashtra and Delhi alleged that they are not receiving sufficient doses from the central government in proportion to their population.
Denying the allegations, the centre maintained that the states are facing a shortage of vaccines due to mismanagement and vaccine wastage.
Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan was quoted as saying, “The problem is of lack of better planning, not of vaccine doses shortage.”
“We have made available vaccine doses to states and UTs from time to time and as we told you earlier that to bigger states we give supply of four days at once and on fourth and fifth day we replenish the supply.”
The Delhi High Court has expressed its displeasure over the “huge wastage” of vaccines and asked the Centre to vaccinate whomsoever it can to ensure there is no wastage.
“This is a huge wastage. Give it to those who want it. Whomsoever you can vaccinate, please vaccinate. Whether 16 year old or 60 year old, all need vaccination. The pandemic does not discriminate,” the court told the Centre.
The court said young people are being affected more this time around, and a lot of young lives have been lost.
It said if at the end of a day, a few shots are available in a vial, then it be given to someone whether they fall in the approved categories for vaccination or not.
“If you’ve built up the capacity.. people are willing to take it ..let those who want to take it, take it. The pandemic does not discriminate. It will inflict anybody and everybody,” the court was quoted as saying by Bar and Bench.
Meanwhile, to boost the supply of vaccines in the market, the government has given an advance of Rs. 4,500 crore to vaccine makers in India. Rs. 3,000 crore have been given to the Serum Institute of India and Rs. 1,500 crore to Bharat Biotech to increase the production of vaccines, said reports.
The third phase of vaccination will kickstart from May 1, wherein the vaccinations will be opened to all above 18 years-old.