Jamaica’s health ministry reports two incidents of vaccine waste

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton.

Fourteen doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been wasted since Jamaica started inoculating its citizens a week ago, according to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

Dr Melody Ennis, director of family services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness made the revelation while responding to a question at a joint select committee meeting on Tuesday (March 16).

“So there is an audit, the audit that we mentioned, would also account for how the doses have been used and if there’s any waste.”

– Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton.

According to Ennis, there were two incidents where vaccines were wasted.

“Yes, we have two reports of wastage. One is for eight doses that fell from a table in the West … the table collapsed. And the vial broke. It had eight doses in it,” said Ennis

“And there’s another report of six doses, it was being held in someone’s hand and it slipped out. So we have eight and six are the ones that I have received reports for as being wasted doses,” added Ennis.

Ennis further shared that because each vial contained more doses than originally anticipated, with some having 11 and 12 doses, this has compensated for some of the waste.

However, Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, shared that there is a benchmark standard of about five per cent waste, noting that any further waste of the jabs would be captured in an audit.

Tufton shared that an audit, which is underway, will capture details about the vaccination programme including the number of jabs administered and waste.

“So there is an audit, the audit that we mentioned, would also account for how the doses have been used and if there’s any waste. Incidentally, there is normally a benchmark standard up about 5% waste, I am told. So let’s hope we don’t have that because supplies are limited,” said Tufton.

Tufton added the audit was not necessarily being done to determine deviant behaviour, even though that may turn up, but as a tool to improve programme efficiency and determine where improvements in transaction time and cost could be made.