Around six lakh of COVID-19 vaccines wasted

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 By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Aug.1: More than five lakh doses of the Covishield, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Moderna vaccines have gone wasted so far because of expiration. 

According to Bade Babu Thapa, senior pharmacy officer at the Supply Management Branch of the Department of Health Services, a total of 581,560 doses of the vaccines against COVID-19 stored in different places of the country have been wasted because of the expiry of the vaccines. The data is based on the report received from the local and district level,  he said.

Senior pharmacist Thapa, said," A total of 343,360 Covishield vaccines, 39,714 Pfizer vaccines, 131, 816 AstraZeneca vaccines, and 66,560 Moderna vaccines have gone wasted till now because of the expiry date."

He pointed at the lack of mutual cooperation and working among district and local levels along with the reluctance and hesitancy of people in getting vaccinated as the reasons for the vaccines going wasted. However, 581,560 anti- COVID-19 vaccines that are stored have around two years of the expiry date.

Authorities reasoned that the snail pace vaccination campaign and the reluctance of people in receiving vaccination resulted in the expiration of more than five lakh of the anti-COVID- 19 vaccines.

Dr. Rudra Prasad Marasini, director of the Management Division under the Department of Health Services (DoHS), said that the anti-COVID-19 vaccine was not wasted in the central storage only, the vaccines supplied to and stored in the districts and local levels were also wasted. The report of the total wastage of vaccines is yet to receive from all local and district levels, therefore, the department has requested details from all over the country.

He argued that although the government requested citizens to get an additional dose, there has been no enthusiasm for vaccinating among denizens because of which vaccines got expired. There used to be a long queue to get vaccinated during the second and third waves in the country, but now only a few people seem to see the worth of vaccination.

Dr. Marasini said, "There is a total of 6,856,000 doses of vaccine against COVID-19 in store, of which, 4,460,000 is Vero Cell vaccine, 119,000 is Johnson$Johnson vaccine, 618,000 Pfizer for more than 18 years and around 15 lakh pediatric Pfizer vaccine." The expiry date of the stored vaccines ranges from six months to two years.

Dr. Surendra Chaurasia, chief of the logistic management section of the Department of Health Service, said that the vaccine against COVID-19 was procured in a large quantity citing the demand following the first and second waves, however, the demand dropped after the third wave.

Dr. Chaurasia, said," Expiry date of around five lakh vaccine was approaching, however, people did not get their jabs, as a result, vaccine expired without coming into use."

"Considering this, we have taken an approach of procuring vaccine as per the demand. First, we will finish these stored 6,846,000 vaccines and then only we will approach the concerned vaccine providers to Nepal only if these doses are consumed."

Further, 2,884,000 pediatric vaccines will arrive in Nepal on August 7. After which, the second phase vaccination for children aged 5-11 will commence," he said.

Dr. Samir Mani Dixit, a public health expert said that people seem disinterested in getting their jabs due to less mortality and less severe consequences of not getting vaccinated.

He said, “There was a fear of deadly virus around first and the second wave, coming around third wave people got used to it and the Omicron variant was less severe and deadly, so many people do not stick around for vaccination.”

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