New Delhi: It has been observed that 25 % of vaccines go waste even before reaching the recipients and many loose effectiveness before administration in the absence of qualitative supply chains and management coordination systems.
The absence of cold chains in the interiors being a major drawback for the efficacy of vaccines. Vaccines are heat sensitive and remain potent between 2 and 8 degree Celsius.
As the situation has taken on challenging proportions, the Health Ministry is now taking its immunization program a step further by adding more cold chains to better manage the supply chain.
Under its universal immunization program, the world’s largest, the Ministry plans over 27000 cold chain points for storing and distributing vaccines. Besides, that the Ministry is also planning to strengthen the system by setting up an electronic vaccine intelligence network which will help monitor both vaccine stocks as well as cold chain temperature, using mobile technology.
Both Government and the public health agencies presently face immense difficulty in providing vaccine efficacy to recipients in the interiors of the country, where both coordination and supply chains happen to be weak.
Though 25% wastage has been recorded for all vaccines, the BCG records the maximum wastage of over 50%, states the Immunisation Technical Support Unit under the Health Ministry.
The wastage rate varies across states depending on the infrastructure and cold storage capacity. The ITSU data representation on wastage has also been seconded by the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies promoting efficient supply chains and management of them.
“A critical component of immunisation program is the vaccine supply chain and cold chain – which play a key role in keeping vaccines safe and efficacious from the stage of manufacture to eventual delivery to the patient,” an official of National Cold Chain & Vaccine Management Resource Centre told TOI.