This article is from Jul 07, 2021

Is it possible to vaccinate in larger numbers than the actual amount of vaccines procured ?

Only July 6, in a press meet, Tamilnadu’s Health and Family welfare Minister Ma.Subramanian spoke about the current vaccination drive where he said, “Once, there were nearly 4 lakh vaccines wasted in Tamilnadu. Currently, in addition to the number of vaccines wasted and the number of vaccines procured from the Union government, we have managed to vaccinate more than 1,10,000 (approximately) people.”


The Minister’s statement has raised many eyebrows among the people. As this news is also being ridiculed by many, Questions were raised by social media users as “How is it possible to vaccinate more people than the procured vaccine amount?” , “Is this even a scientific move?”

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So, is it possible ?

Up to 10 people can be vaccinated by each vaccine vial administered in India. I.e. 10 doses per bottle. The vials that contain multiple doses are called ‘multi-dose vials’. These are said to contain a slightly higher quantity of doses than it is specified in the bottle.

World Health Organisations on Multi Dose vials:

There may be a difference between the number of doses indicated on the label on the multi-dose vials and the actual number of doses available. The number of actual quantities available from them will depend on certain factors. They are

  1. Syringe dead space – The area between the syringe and the needle where the vaccine is stuck is called the “dead space”.
  2. Vial overfill volume – filling a vial with additional vaccine doses.

According to the WHO, filling a vial with additional vaccines is a common practice in vaccine production. This is called ‘overfill’. Manufacturers will include additional vaccines to help health workers in administering accurate dosages.

The volume of a corona vaccine vial administered in India is 5 ml. The vaccine is given at a dose of 0.5 ml per person. So, it can vaccinate a total of 10 people. By ‘overfill’ method each vial contains more than 5 ml (0.58 to 0.62 ml extra) of vaccine. A competent health worker can vaccinate more than 10 people at a rate of 0.5 ml per bottle of vial, depending on the volume filled. This process is called “negative wastage”.

Referring to this practice, the Minister in the interview said, “So far 1,57,76,550 vaccines have been administered to Tamil Nadu, 63,450 vaccines are already in stock. Using them, 1,58,78,600 people have been vaccinated. I.e 1,10,000 have been vaccinated additionally by ‘negative wastage’ method. ”

This “negative wastage” method is also being practiced in kerala. Chief Minister of Kerala Mr. Pinarayi Vijayan made a Twitter post regarding this practice on May 4.

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Yesterday (July 6), at Periyanaickenpalayam Government Hospital in Coimbatore, medical staff workers have effectively vaccinated 128 people in 100 dosages by this method.

Dr. Karthikeyan, MBBS, MS, Mch (surgical oncology), MRCS (edin) said, “There are always extra doses in the vials. If handled properly, “Negative wastage” can be achieved and it is possible to vaccinate more people.”

In this regard Dr. Praveen MBBS MD MRCP (UK). D̅N̅B̅ G̅A̅S̅T̅R̅O̅ says, “This is true. As you say it is possible if the people come to vaccinate on time and if wastage does not occur. Similar incidents are happening in Kerala as well. ”

Usually, Vaccine vial monitors are labeled on vaccine vials. It is a label that is heat sensitive and is placed in the vaccine vial to record heat exposure over time. But during this pandemic period, these labels were not affixed to vials in India. If the vial temperature gets increased beyond its prescribed storage value, there will be a drop in potential of the vaccine. Therefore, it was advised by the Health Ministry to open a vial and finish using it within 4 hours.

Previously, vaccines have been wasted because not enough people have come forward to be vaccinated. But now that more people are starting to come forward, the amount of wastage has decreased.

So, by the “negative wastage” method it is actually possible to vaccinate more people than the prescribed amount on a single vial. Similar practices are taking place in our neighboring states as well. In this regard, we hope that the doubts and questions that have arisen on social networking sites have been answered and clarified.

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கொள்முதல் செய்யப்பட்டதை விட கூடுதல் தடுப்பூசி செலுத்தப்பட்டத்து – அமைச்சர் சுப்பிரமணியன் விளக்கம்

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