COVID-19 vaccine should be used within 4 hours
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COVID-19 vaccine vial, with 10 dosages, should be used within 4 hours of opening

The first set of COVID-19 vaccine, most probably to be used from January 16, will certainly need to be utilized or discarded within 4 hours of the opening. Each vial is approximated to have 10 dosages. The reason is the non-availability of vaccine vial monitors. Since the pandemic has urged the govt to do away with the open vial plan that enables storage as well as use vaccines for a very long time even after the vial has actually been opened.

For example, few vaccines under the Universal Immunisation Program can be utilized for around 4 weeks after the opening of the vials (for the very 1st time). This can not be done without vaccine vial monitors, as they present vital signs, especially the storage temperature, which aids in appropriately equipping as well as transporting vials.

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According to the guidelines shared by the Union health ministry, there will be no vaccine vial monitors and expiry date on the vial of the vaccine that will be supplied, cold chain maintenance will certainly be provided, and cold chain upkeep will certainly be of top concern. Open vial plan will not be suitable, and hence the vaccination officials should note the day and time of opening vial. All opened vials have to be discarded after 4 hours of opening or at the completion of the session. It further includes that a supervisor must make sure that the temperature of vaccine carriers is accurately controlled and documented at every site.

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T Jacob John, a veteran virologist, described that live vaccines like the one SII is manufacturing don’t have agents that hold them sterile, unlike inactivated vaccines, which are permitted to have them. Cold storage plays an important role in whether or not a vaccine gets contaminated.

T Jacob John further added that any inactivated vaccine could endure the cold chain break; however, live viral vaccines should be maintained at a specific temperature. If that is damaged and the temperature level goes above 8° C, its potency might decrease. Normally, once it is out the cold chain, before-mentioned vaccines can be utilized within 4-6 hours; past that, if you do not have a vaccine vial monitor, you can’t be certain if the temperature level is being maintained, so it is ideal not to have an open vial plan.

This, however, also indicates that there are huge chances of wastage given that the vials need to be utilized/ discarded within 4 hours. As per existing standards, just 100 individuals can be vaccinated per site/per day. Unlike normal booster vaccination programs, where people come whenever they want in a specified time, COVD-19 vaccination is by earlier appointment, allowing authorities to know how many individuals will be at a site on a day. Bharath Biotech’s vaccine, unlike the serum institute’s vaccine, is an inactivated vaccine, and an open vial plan can be employed. The ministry’s standards claim that proper guidance will be provided for different vaccines.

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