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1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine wasted in Delhi as fewer people line up for jabs: Health officials

The authorities have been red-flagged about the wastage of doses - which has emerged as an issue of concern in the past four days of immunisation programme.

January 20, 2021 / 07:56 PM IST
Representative image: Reuters

Representative image: Reuters

Around 1,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were wasted in Delhi as fewer people have been lining up for taking the jabs, health department officials were reported as saying.

The authorities have been red-flagged about the wastage of doses - which has emerged as an issue of concern in the past four days of the immunisation programme.

A vial of Covishield contains 5 ml of the vaccine. For each dose, the authorities need to inject 0.5 ml of the vaccine.

As per the government guidelines, an opened vial can be used for only up to four hours. For zero wastage, at least 10 persons are required to be vaccinated within four hours of opening the vial.

"If the hesitancy was not as high as it actually is now, then people would be queueing up and we could have grouped them in slots of 10 to reduce wastage," Hindustan Times quoted a senior health official as saying.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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While the health department is yet to calculate the exact amount of vaccine wasted so far, teams overseeing the immunisation programme have estimated the wastage of at least 1,000 doses, the officials claimed.

The pace of vaccination in Delhi has been slower as compared to a number of other states. Health Minister Satyender Jain told reporters that less than half of the listed beneficiaries turned up for inoculation on January 19.

"The target of the day in Delhi was 8,136, and 3,598 got vaccinated, which is 44 percent of the targeted figure," Firstpost quoted Jain as saying.

The Union Health Ministry, in a press conference addressed on January 19, pointed out that only 0.18 percent cases of adverse events following immunisation (AEFI) were reported after three days of nationwide vaccination drive. Only 0.002 percent of the AEFI cases required hospitalisation, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said.
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