The states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have recorded the highest percentage of COVID-19 vaccine wastage in the country, the Health Ministry informed the media on Wednesday. The average percentage of COVID-19 vaccine wastage across India is 6.5%, the officials said, sharing that the wastage in Telangana is 17.6% and in Andhra Pradesh is 11.6%. The two Telugu states are followed by Uttar Pradesh, with 9.4%, and Karnataka with 6.9% vaccine wastage.
Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog told the media that Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed disappointment on vaccine wastage. “It is a precious commodity. Vaccines are invaluable commodities, have to be optimally utilised,” Rajesh Bhushan, Secretary in the Health Ministry, told the media.
The government also told the media that till March 15, around 3.51 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, including 1.38 crore for those above 60 years and those aged above 45 and have comorbidities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday held a virtual interaction with state chief ministers over the pandemic situation and the ongoing vaccination drive, Modi also asserted that vaccine is an effective weapon against the diseases and asked states to establish more vaccination centres, be it government-run or private. The Prime Minister expressed concern over a rise in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country, and called for "quick and decisive" steps to check the emerging "second peak" of coronavirus, and stressed the need to seriously follow the "test, track and treat" approach. This was the Prime Minister’s first interaction with the Chief Ministers since the vaccination drive began across India in January.
The government also said that the pandemic seems to be shifting to Tier II, Tier III cities and closer to rural areas.
"A significant situation is emerging as plummeting pandemic is going up. The Prime Minister said that pandemic seems to be more so in Tier II, Tier III cities and closer to rural areas. The earlier phase was in big metro cities," said Dr VK Paul, member (health) of NITI Aayog.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India needs to take quick and decisive steps to stop the emerging second peak of COVID-19 immediately. He handed out a five-point plan to fight what is being called the second wave of the COVID-19 infection during a virtual meet with Chief Ministers.
Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 70 districts in 16 states have witnessed an increase of cases by more than 150 per cent from March 1 to March 15. These states include Maharashtra, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana. "There has been nearly 43 per cent increase in new cases week-on-week and 37 per cent increase in new deaths," Bhushan added.
The situation is grim in Maharashtra, where over 60 per cent of active cases and 45 per cent new deaths are concentrated. Bhushan said that enough tests are not being done and the positivity rate, percentage of people who test positive of those tested, is concerning.
On Wednesday, India logged 28,903 cases of Covid-19 and 188 fatalities in the last 24 hours, with five states Maharashtra, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu driving up the daily new cases.
(With agency inputs)