The average of COVID-19 vaccine wastage in India is 6.5 per cent, with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh recording 17.6 and 11.6 per cent wastage respectively, the Centre said on Wednesday as it called for optimal utilisation of the jabs.
Addressing a press conference, Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that 3.51 crore vaccine doses have been administered till now in the country, which include 1.38 crore beneficiaries aged 45-60 years with specific co-morbidities and those above 60 years who have been given the first dose.
On March 15, 8.34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered worldwide, of which India alone administered 36 per cent of doses, he said.
Bhushan said COVID-19 vaccine wastage in five states -- Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir is higher than 6.5 per cent, which is the national average.
"The message we have shared with states is that vaccines are invaluable commodities. They are public health goods and therefore vaccines have to be optimally utilised. Vaccine wastage has to be drastically reduced. Any reduction in wastage means that you end up inoculating more people and therefore the chances of disrupting the chain of infection grow that much more," he said.