Each Vaccine Vial, With 10 Doses, Must Be Used Within 4 Hours Of Opening; Here’s Why

DCGI had given its nod to Bharat Biotech's 'Covaxin' and Oxford-AstraZeneca's 'Covishield' earlier this month for emergency authorisation use in India.

From 16 January, the Union Health Ministry is all set to launch the world’s largest inoculation drive against the novel coronavirus, giving priority in the first step of vaccination to healthcare personnel and frontline employees.

Guidelines for the vaccination campaign have also been provided by the Health Ministry. The Health Ministry has specified in its Guidelines for States and Union Territories (UTs) that each vaccine vial containing 10 doses would have to be used within four hours of opening.

The non-availability of vaccine vial monitors (VVMs) because of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the government to do away with the open vial scheme, according to a media report. The VVMs show key factors that allow a vaccine to be stored and transported for a longer time, including the storage temperature.

“As there will be no VVMs and expiry date on the vial of the vaccine that will be supplied, cold chain maintenance will be of prime importance… Open vial policy will not be applicable and therefore the vaccination office should mark date and time of opening vial, all open vials need to be discarded after four hours of opening or at the end of the session,” the Health Ministry said, as reported by The Times of India.

Yet, it is vaccine time all over the world. India will begin to vaccinate its people against COVID-19. In 41 countries, 24 million people have already taken their first dose. The bulk of these people are in the United States, China, and in Europe and the Middle East.

There is, of course, a group of individuals who reject immunization. Dr. Swaminathan points out that vaccines are very positive for large parts of the developed world. You see the anti-vaccine campaign in countries with very high incomes. Most of that is because people have not seen the spread of infectious diseases that are stopped by vaccination in prosperous countries.

Experts agree, however, that this could contribute to the wastage of vaccines since a vaccine shot would be given at a vaccine site on a day to just 100 people. They claim that it is hard to check if the appropriate storage temperature is being maintained without VVMs.

Earlier this month, the DCGI gave its nod to Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ and Oxford-‘Covishield‘ AstraZeneca’s for the use of emergency authorisation in India. The central government said, following DCGI’s nod, that the vaccination drive would begin on January 16.

PM Modi will hold a meeting on Monday with all the chief ministers and representatives of all states and union territories (UTs) before the launch of the vaccination drive to address the situation of COVID-19 in the state. A meeting with officials from all states and UTs on Saturday was also held by the Prime Minister to review the country’s COVID-19 status.

Two national dry runs were also performed by the central government to test the nationwide preparedness for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

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