Like street vendors calling attention to their wares, two women health workers from Assam were recently seen in a viral video carrying a blue box strapped to a bamboo pole and shouting: “First dose. Second dose. Corona vaccine. Anybody left out?”
The act may have amused many, but seen in the context of India’s imposing inoculation target and the anxiety of the health establishment over unused vaccines going past their expiry date, there is suspicion this goes beyond comic relief. Most officials TOI spoke to, however, scotched fears of vaccine wastage, or those about to expire being offered as booster shots secretly, or expired doses being dumped.
Hospital administrators, particularly those in the private sector, have adopted ingenious methods to clear their vaccine stockpile—including cutting the price of shots, using CSR funds to vaccinate people for free, and exchanging doses with other hospitals to use up the idle stock.
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