Rajasthan: Covid Vaccine Vials Thrown Away, Burnt And Buried, Says Report; State Govt Denies Vaccine Wastage

Rajasthan: Covid Vaccine Vials Thrown Away, Burnt And Buried, Says Report; State Govt Denies Vaccine WastageAshok Gehlot (Rajasthan Congress official Facebook page) 

While the Rajasthan government is denying allegations of vaccine wastage, local media reports portray a different picture.

Recently, a report in Dainik Bhaskar claimed wastage of around 500 vials of Covid-19 vaccine from 35 vaccination centres of eight districts in Rajasthan which sparked a row. Bhaskar in a new report has claimed that vaccine vials have also been found buried in the state.

Thereafter, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday (31 May) asked the state's Health Minister Raghu Sharma to optimise vaccine utilisation and reduce avoidable wastage citing the media report.

Harsh Vardhan also pointed out that in almost all districts of Rajasthan, vaccine wastage is more than the national average which is less than one per cent. However, Rajasthan government defends it saying that the wastage is less than 2 per cent, which is below the national average of 6 per cent and permissible limit of 10 per cent.

The state and the centre not only differ on the national average of vaccine wastage but also on the percentage of vaccine wasted. As opposed to the Rajasthan government’s claim of 2 per cent vaccine wastage, Centre’s data shows 7 per cent and 3 per cent wastage in April and May respectively.

Going by the district-wise wastage data, Churu leaves Jharkhand behind in vaccine wastage with 39.7 per cent wastage. Hanumangarh, Bharatpur, Kota and Chittorgarh reported vaccine wastage of more than 10 per cent.

Reportedly, the vaccine vials were found in dustbins which could have been used to vaccinate more than 2,500 people. Generally, a single vial has 10 doses. Of the 532 vials that Bhaskar found, over 130 vials were full, while 100 were more than half-filled.

When the government denied such allegations, the media house even released the batch numbers of the Covid vaccine vials. Apart from being found in dustbins, vaccine vials were also found to be burned and thrown into a drain in Tonk and in a trench in Karauli.

At a place, vaccine vials were also found to be buried in ground. When asked why the vaccine vials are being disposed in such a way, the doctor said that they had no instructions regarding what to do with the vial after vaccination.

Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat alleged a wastage of more than 11.5 lakh vaccine doses during the ongoing vaccination drive. However, Rajasthan Education Minister Govind Singh Dotasara blames BJP for “falsely accusing” the state government.

Ground reports show that the healthcare workers are compelled to throw vaccine vials when they are unable to administer them within four hours of opening. Some vaccination centres have also reported zero wastage because they manage to gather people for administering doses.

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