Vaccine wastage assessment in a primary care setting in urban India


Wastage is defined as loss by use, decay, erosion or leakage or through wastefulness. The World Health Organization reports over 50% vaccine wastage around the world [ i ].Despite the availability of many tools for reducing such wastage, high wastage rates are still occurring in countries. Vaccine wastage can be classified as occurring “in unopened vials” and “in opened vials”.

Expiry, VVM indication, heat exposure, freezing, breakage, missing inventory and theft are the forms of vaccine wastage affecting unopened vials. Vaccine wastage in opened vials may also occur because doses remaining in an opened vial at the end of a session are discarded, the number of doses drawn from a vial is not the same as that indicated on the label, reconstitution practices are poor, opened vials are submerged in water, and contamination is suspected.


Vaccine wastage is an important factor in forecasting vaccine needs. In the absence of local or national data on wastage rates, if incorrect figures are used, the country concerned may face serious vaccine shortages or be unable to consume received quantities, leading to increased wastage through expiry. It is therefore crucial that all immunization points using vaccines and that the stores handling them monitor their use continuously. Such monitoring can provide programme managers with good guidance on the introduction of corrective actions to reduce wastage whenever necessary. With the introduction of new vaccine management policies such as the application of multidose vial policy (MDVP), the effective use of vaccine vial monitors (VVMs), and improved immunization strategies and practices, vaccine wastage is expected to decrease. This article attempts to calculate the vaccine wastage rates in an urban setting in the current era of new vaccine management policies.


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