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Telugu States lead in COVID-19 vaccine wastage

The average COVID-19 vaccine wastage in India is at 6.5%, with Telangana and Andhra Pradesh being on the top with 17.6 and 11.6% wastage respectively, the Centre said as it called for optimal utilisation of the doses.
 
A total of 3,64,67,744 vaccine doses have been administered till now in the country, which includes 1,48,60,930 beneficiaries aged 45-60 years with specific co-morbidities and senior citizens who have been given the first dose.
 
At a press conference, union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said that by Monday, 8.34 million COVID-19 vaccine doses were administered worldwide, of which India alone administered 36% of the doses. Bhushan said COVID-19 vaccine wastage in five states ‒ Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir ‒ is higher than the national average of 6.5%.
 
“The message we have shared with states is that vaccines are invaluable commodities. They are public health goods and therefore vaccines have to be optimally utilised.
 
“Vaccine wastage has to be drastically reduced. Any reduction in wastage means that you end up inoculating more people and therefore the chances of disrupting the chain of infection grow that much more,” he said.
 
On an average 13,12,215 vaccine doses are being administered daily with Rajasthan providing the most jabs on an average, Bhushan said.
 
About the increase in daily COVID-19 cases, Bhushan said from March 1-15, about 70 districts in 16 states have registered more than 150% increase in active cases while 55 districts in 17 states have registered a 100-150% rise in cases.
 
Most of these districts are in west and north India. Elaborating on the rise in cases in states, he said, “If we look at Maharashtra, 60% of all active cases and 45 % of new deaths are concentrated there.”
 
“On March 1, 7,741 new cases were being reported on an average. By March 15, it stood at 13,527. The positivity rate, which was 11% on March 1 rose to 16% by March 15,” he said.
 
Noting that the high positivity rate is a matter of concern, Bhushan said the number of tests is not increasing in tandem with the COVID-19 positivity rate. “So, our advice to the states, especially Maharashtra, is that there is a need to increase the testing rate, especially the RT-PCR ones,” he said.
 
In Punjab, on March 1 an average of 531 new cases were being reported. By March 15, the number increased to an average of 1,338. The positivity rate has doubled and the share of RT-PCR total tests conducted was 89%, he said.
 
“We would want a distinct increasing trend of tests in which RT-PCR share is substantially higher,” Bhushan said. 
 
In Chattisgarh, on March 1 an average of 239 new cases were being reported. By March 15, the number increased to average 430. The positivity rate increased from 1.4% to 2.4% and RT-PCR share in tests conducted is 34%.

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