– Sanjay Jain, Director at Elanpro
Vaccine waste is an inherent part of all vaccination drives around the world. However, proper planning and precaution can reduce wastage. The second wave of COVID-19, in India, observed a surge in the number of cases and deaths which drives the belief that vaccination will play an imperative role to control this spread. According to RTI, it was revealed that around 44.78 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines were wasted in India till 11th April 2021, which means about 0.3% of the Indian population got deprived of that vaccine.
After observing and scrutinizing the present situation, the Government of India and private players are moving towards an appropriate and efficient storage system to maintain the efficacy of the vaccine.
One of the key reasons behind the wastage of vaccines is the failure to maintain the required temperature during transportation, storage, or at the vaccination sites. Vaccine storage requires the right temperature which needs to be maintained throughout – from the point of origin to its destination. While transporting the vaccines, temperature maintenance plays an essential part as the wastage of vaccines is completely dependent on it.
Additionally, many hospitals are still using a domestic refrigerator which is not appropriate in maintaining an accurate temperature. Also, many rural areas or remote areas are still facing erratic power supply, making the functioning of the vaccine storage challenging. Hence, it is important to have a viable, and effective cold chain storage system in India.
Vaccine cold chain comprises cold rooms, freezers, refrigerators, cold boxes, and carriers that keep vaccines at just the right temperature. The available vaccines for COVID-19 require different sets of temperature ranges such as Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin must be stored at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. Thus, the demand for the appropriate cold chain storage is becoming an utmost priority for the Government, healthcare and pharma players. One of the key factors which need to be addressed efficiently is the right temperature required to be maintained for the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Along with this, it is observed that there is a resurgent demand for Cloud based data monitoring devise to seamlessly monitor the temperature. The current situation necessitates industries to produce and improve cold chain storage, to innovate, and to conduct a substantial study to develop healthcare and pharmaceutical aid. There is also a need to upgrade the refrigerators used in hospitals towards proper quality and efficiency. Considering the geographical challenges, the manufacturers are also emphasizing bringing a robust ecosystem and developing products that will reduce any further complexity.