Home / Science / News /  COVID-19 vaccination in India: Centre orders 83 crore syringes, releases guidelines for usage

The central government has ordered 83 crore syringes for COVID-19 vaccination drive in India. A set of guidelines for safer disposal of used injections has also been prepared, according to reports. Moreover, the centre has also invited bids for 35 crore more syringes, according to the statement by union ministry of health and family affairs.

The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) has already identified a priority group which will be vaccinationated first. Here is the list: 1) Nearly 1 crore healthcare workers will be vaccinated during phase I vaccination drive 2) Around 2 crore frontline workers will receive the vaccine 3) Those who are above 50 years and people below 50 years with co-morbidities will also get vaccine in the first phase. Nearly 30 crore people will get COVID-19 jab during the phase I vaccination drive.

The centre also asked the states to use auto-disable (AD) syringes during the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. "These syringes prevent person-to-person transmission of blood-borne pathogens. Use a new sterile packed AD syringe for each injection for each beneficiary," the guidelines noted. The instructions also stated to "not use AD syringes that have damaged packaging, or have passed the manufacturer expiry date. Do not pre-fill syringes and do not attempt to recap the needle as this practice can lead to needle-stick injuries."

"Immediately after injecting the beneficiary, the AD syringe must be cut from the hub (plastic part at base of needle) using the hub cutter and cut part of the syringe put in the red bag. Do not put the syringes on the table or on a tray after," the document further added.

"Segregate and store the plastic portion of the cut syringes in the red bag. While plastic wrapper and the cap of the syringe should be treated as municipal general waste, the use of hub cutter should be made correctly, store used cotton swab in yellow bag after administering the injection," it said.

"Besides, the used, unused, partially used vaccine vials should be returned to the cold chain point as per existing adverse events following immunization (AEFI) guidelines for proper disposal," they said.

The document has also underlined that "all vials (used/empty, unused and partially used) must be returned through alternate vaccine delivery (AVD) to the vaccine distribution/ILR point, maintaining a reverse cold chain. Completed and signed tally form should also be returned with vaccine carrier. Most importantly, the government has advised the states to ensure that unopened vials should be returned and properly marked and stored immediately at the correct temperature."

"On the next day, these marked vials must be supplied and used first ensure that all used/empty COVID-19 vaccine vials at the end of the session are kept in a separate zip lock bag to return to ILR point," the document stated.

"Always keep used COVID-19 vaccine vial returned from the field separately contained in a zip lock bag/box with proper cold chain till the next session or 48 hours which ever earlier (as per existing AEFI guidelines)," it said.

"Wash your hands with soap before and after the vaccination session and sanitize with 70 percent alcohol-based sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water after vaccinating each beneficiary. Cover any small cuts on the service provider's skin. Avoid giving injections at the injection site where there is local skin lesion, cut or dermatitis," the central government mentioned in an advisory directed to states, according to reports.

(With inputs from ANI)

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