Bengal avoids wastage of Covid vaccine but faces shortage of syringes now

West Bengal has received around 30 million doses of Covishield and Covaxin from the Centre. From each vial of Covishield, 10 doses can be retrieved, and the Centre provided syringes proportionally
Healthcare workers carry vaccines during a door-to-door vaccination and testing drive in West Bengal. (REUTERS File)
Healthcare workers carry vaccines during a door-to-door vaccination and testing drive in West Bengal. (REUTERS File)
Updated on Aug 18, 2021 10:30 AM IST
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West Bengal has managed to avoid wastage of Covid-19 vaccine does but ended up using more syringes as a result and that has led to their shortfall, officials said. It now needs to purchase at least two million syringes, they added.

“There is some shortage of syringes. By saving the (doses of) vaccines, we have consumed the syringes the Centre provided. We now need to procure a few lakh syringes,” said Ajoy Chakraborty, the director of West Bengal Health Services.

West Bengal has received around 30 million doses of Covishield and Covaxin from the Centre. From each vial of Covishield, 10 doses can be retrieved, and the Centre provided syringes proportionally.

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“While wastage up to 10% is allowed in each vial... with a little efficiency one can also retrieve 11 doses from each Covishield vial. West Bengal has not only managed to stop any wastage but in most cases, we retrieved 11 doses, thereby registering around 7% negative wastage. In turn, we consumed the syringes that came along with the vials,” said a health department official, who did not want to be named.

Officials said the state has so far saved around 1.7 million doses of Covishield.

The state also procured around 1.7 million doses of vaccines and a million syringes on its own. “...to administer the saved vaccines, we need to procure around two million syringes. We have informed the Centre. If the Centre does not send them, we would have to purchase them,” said a third official, who did not want to be named.

As the syringe used to administer the Covid-19 vaccine is the same as used for administering other vaccines, the state is managing the shortfall for now. But now the shortfall is mounting, and the state needs to purchase the syringes.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has repeatedly complained of a short supply of vaccines from the Centre. She has written multiple letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has claimed there has been a mismanagement of vaccines in the state.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021