In April 2021, data furnished by the Union Ministry of Health had pointed out that the southern state of Tamil Nadu had been wasting about 8.8 per cent of the total vaccine supply, which amounted to the highest after Assam at 7.7 per cent.
However, the state has turned the scenario around, and in a matter of few months after the new government was sworn in, has achieved the feat of zero wastage of COVID-19 vaccine. Several media reports had stated that vaccine hesitancy among the eligible population was leading to the wastage but adequate awareness measures taken by the government have helped in dispelling the doubts.
As per the data released on July 20, Tamil Nadu as emerged as a vaccine-efficient state and wasted zero doses. It has, in fact, extracted an additional 5.88 lakh doses from the given supply, reported The New Indian Express.
Thus now the state prides itself on being able to best utilise vaccine resources. While Tamil Nadu tops the list of effectively utilising vaccines, other states like West Bengal, which extracted an additional 4.87 lakh doses, and Gujarat with 4.62 lakh doses follow.
How to Effectively Use Vaccines To Reduce Wastage?
Director of Public Health Dr TS Selvavinayagam informed that extracting 11 to 12 doses from a ten-dose vial, without any reduction in the quantity of 0.5 ML, required for a complete dose is possible and permissible as well.
He explained about three aspects that helped them and other states to effectively use vaccines. These were overfilling, dead space in syringes, and efficiency of health workers.
The doctor said that the manufacturers generally provide 16 to 24 percent additional dose in a vial and in a syringe, there will be dead space. In high dead space syringes, the residual vaccine remains within the needle and the syringe hub and plunger causing the wastage.
"In Tamil Nadu, we use auto disable syringes designed for immunisation. The dead space is low in these syringes and we can extract more doses," he told The New Indian Express.
Finally, to understand and administer vaccines effectively, the efficiency of the health workers is very crucial too.
Districts in the state like Karur, Nagapattinam, Kanyakumari, Sivakasi, Tenkasi, and Tiruppur which were initially hesitant have used higher than 100 percent of the supplied doses. Reports have mentioned that camps were conducted in these districts to inoculate all at one time, thereby reducing the possibilities of wastage.