Four vials containing forty doses of Covaxin vaccine briefly went missing from the Narayanapuram Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Machilipatnam of Andhra Pradesh. Health officials said that the vials that had gone missing on May 14 were recovered on Tuesday morning. The police, who took up the case after Health Department officials in Krishna district filed a police complaint with the Chilakalapudi police station, said that it was a case of an accounting error.
The immunisation wing of the District Medical and Health Office (DM&HO) had sanctioned 1,000 doses of covaxin for the PHC. The staff administered 300 doses of vaccine and had stored the remaining 700 doses in a freezer. On May 14, Dr Sanghamitra Amulya, the medical officer with the UPHC sought a routine count of the stock from the cold chain incharge, who then reported the discrepancy. A police complaint was filed the next day.
R Anakbabu, the Station House Officer (SHO) of Chilakalapudi police station said that the vials were found on the morning of May 18. "They were found untampered in the same room from where they were reported missing. The cold chain incharge itself found it while doing a physical check. It appears to be a genuine case of an accounting error. There is no foul play," he said.
Speaking to TNM, Dr Sanghamitra said a complaint was filed for reasons of transparency. "After the vaccination drive, we store the vaccine in a room. While taking count, a box containing only four vials were found missing. We filed a police complaint to avoid any controversy. The staff did not count the vials in the box by mistake. We found the vials while checking the boxes today (Tuesday)," the doctor said, who added that all the vaccines are now accounted for.
In a recent incident in neighbouring Telangana, at Vinaya Nagar UPHC in Nizamabad district, a supervisor was reportedly caught on May 14 hoarding a vaccine vial. The staffer intended to provide the doses to nine of his family members, reported The New Indian Express. Following this, District Health officials had filed a report on the incident with the District Collector seeking action against the supervisor.