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Weak cold chain and incorrect planning are key reasons for vaccine wastage: Jesal Doshi

Anurag More, Mumbai
Monday, September 27, 2021, 13:10 Hrs  [IST]

Weak cold chain and incorrect planning are some of the key reasons for vaccine wastage in the country. Vaccine wastage rate in India varies from region to region.

"The Government of India has provided guidelines to the States and Union Territories for the effective usage of the doses. Any reduction in wastage means inoculating more people as each dose saved is vaccinating one more person. As emphasized by the Central government, the expectation that vaccine wastage should be one per cent or less is achievable and all the stakeholders should work together to keep the vaccine wastage rates below one per cent in the country," says Jesal Doshi, deputy CEO, B Medical Systems.

He further adds, "The journey of the vaccine from the manufacturer until the time of administration routes through multiple stages and stakeholders and every step in the journey can contribute to vaccine wastage. The first part of the journey, where vaccines are stored and transported to/from hubs is where the vaccine cold chain becomes critical. Exposure to high or low temperature can result in vaccine wastage. At the same time, if not properly transported, vials can break resulting in wastage. Once the vaccines reach the point of administration, wastage can happen due to several other reasons as well. The vaccines need to be administered within a stipulated time once the vial is opened. If the number of people who turn up for vaccination during a particular part of the day is less, vaccine doses can get wasted. Similarly, if an incorrect number or quantity of dose is drawn from a vial, it can result in vaccine wastage. In short, we can say a weak cold chain and incorrect planning are the key reasons for vaccine wastage".

India’s Covid-19 vaccination drive is one of the world’s largest vaccination drives. Till date, India has administered more than 60 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines with around 46.7 crore people receiving at least one dose and 13.6 crore people getting fully vaccinated. This is indeed a remarkable achievement. If you look at the statistics, India is second globally in terms of the number of doses administered so far.

By providing a reliable vaccine cold chain. We are the world leaders in the vaccine cold chain with more than 40 years of experience. We are well renowned for our legacy and technical know-how of delivering a reliable medical cold chain. Irrespective of the external temperature, our products help store and transport the vaccine in its intended temperature range. We also offer 24/7 real-time monitoring, thereby offering one more layer of security for safe storage and transport. All of these help ensure zero wastage during the storage and transport of vaccines. Our products are WHO PQS certified and are certified medical devices, adds Doshi.

The most significant step towards achieving zero wastage is ensuring a robust vaccine cold chain infrastructure across the country. The government has managed India’s Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) very well. Our country already has a substantial number of cold chain units installed across the country under this program. But to meet the scale of the Covid-19 programme, we had to add more units. Today companies that have no experience in the medical cold chain are trying to become vaccine cold chain players and this is not ideal for achieving zero wastage. Using the products that are medically certified along with temperature monitoring systems, will help ensure that each dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is administered with the highest efficacy. There should be central guidelines and monitoring when it comes to vaccine cold chain infrastructure.

 

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