The government of J&K has placed an order for one crore twenty lakh doses for vaccination of 18 to 45 age-group. However, given the statement by the Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, it would be unlikely before a fortnight that J&K’s adults below 45 will get vaccinated against the virus.
There is a crisis of sorts as far as vaccine supply is concerned even as the union Health Ministry has reiterated that over one crore vaccines remain in stock with States. An additional 20 lakh would be made available to States and UTs in the next three days, the Ministry said. The Government of India has so far provided nearly 16.33 crore vaccine doses to states and UTs and as per the latest statement, the total consumption including wastage is 15,33,56,503 doses, the ministry said.
Of them, 23,81,840 doses of COVID-19 vaccine were received by Jammu and Kashmir April 29. Of which, 23, 16,567 have been used so far, leaving J&K with mere 65, 2,73 doses and most of them might have been used on April 30 itself.
In its operational guidelines on the vaccination, the Wastage Multiplier Factor had been calculated at 1.11 by the government, assuming an allowable programmatic wastage of 10%. This number is factored into how many vials are allocated to States or UTs for supply of vaccine to each administrative unit.
There are various reasons for the wastage and in unopened vaccine can occur due to reasons such as the vial reaching its destination after its expiry date or exposed to temperature above normal bounds or suspected contamination and poor vaccine administration practices. Primary reason though has been the non use of full vaccine within the timeframe. For example, each Covishield vial has 10 doses in total— each dose being 0.5 ml (for one person). Once opened, all doses have to be administered within four to six hours, otherwise, it goes waste and the remaining doses have to be discarded.
There is also a situation where the required number of people are available but when a vaccinator is not properly trained, he or she ends up drawing maybe only nine doses against ten.
In April J&K figured among states or UTs with wastage above the national mark of 6.5 per cent and as per central Ministry’s latest data, the wastage in J&K stands at 2.58 percent which in contemporary times is higher than the target of one percent or less set by the centre. Trained staff and mobilization of beneficiaries is important to prevent the wastage. The government needs to train administrators when exponential increase in vaccine demand is expected in the next few months.