Guidelines issued to all state governments show the formula used to estimate vaccine needs at various levels — block, state and district — is borrowed broadly from the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP). However, while the wastage percentage differs for different vaccines under UIP, “allowable wastage” for the Covid-19 vaccine has been fixed at 10%. This is used to determine the wastage multiplication factor (WMF), which is used to determine the estimated number of doses that need to be purchased.
The ministry and experts have arrived at a WMF of 1.1 for Covid-19 vaccines. Since each beneficiary needs two doses of the vaccine, here’s how the estimation for procurement is made: If the government, for instance, is procuring doses for 100 people, it first multiplies the number of people by two (given that two doses are needed). This number (200) is then multiplied by 1.1 — to account for wastage and arrive at the final number of doses required. In this case it would be 222. Giving an example for one-dose estimation, the ministry guidelines read: “…27,800 doses of Covid-19 vaccine are adequate for immunising 25,045 beneficiaries (WMF = 1.11)”.
While just 200 doses may eventually be enough for 100 people — if logistics, storage, management and administration (of vaccines) have an 100% efficiency rate — the said formula is employed to prevent a shortage of doses in case there is wastage due to any one of these reasons. The Union MoH&FW and the state governments are taking every possible measure to minimise wastage.