NEW DELHI: The Union health ministry on Thursday refuted as misleading media reports which claimed that 50 lakh unused Covishield doses may go waste by the end of this month.
It said the Centre had proactively advised all state governments to review the availability of vaccines, right from the start of the vaccination drive against COVID-19, to ensure that the wastage of doses is reduced to a minimum.
The health ministry had in November last year communicated to the states that they should regularly review the status of the vaccines that were expected to cross their shelf life in the coming months, but were available with private hospitals.
The states were also advised to ensure that no vaccine dose gets expired — both in government and private facilities — the ministry said in a statement.
It said the states were advised to have a quick video-conference at the level of additional chief secretary (health)/ principal secretary (health) with the private hospitals to look into the utilisation of vaccine doses.
States were also advised that they could try interventions such as administration of vaccine under Corporate Social Responsibility or vaccination at subsidized rates in private hospitals, the ministry stated.
Furthermore, on the request of specific states, the Union health ministry had clarified that it had no objection to the proposed arrangement of transfer of vaccine, on an exceptional basis, from private sector health facilities to state government health facilities to avoid vaccine expiry and to ensure that no vaccine dose goes waste, the statement read.
Also, the provision of vaccine exchange has been made available on Co-WIN, the government’s web portal for vaccination-related information, it noted.
Additionally, discussions have also been held with states, namely West Bengal, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat and Delhi to ensure that the vaccines available at private COVID vaccination centres are used, the statement mentioned.