Each Covid-19 Vaccine Vial Must Be Used Within 4 Hours Of Op
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The initial batches of Covid-19 vaccines will have to be used or discarded within four hours of the vials being opened. The reason: non-availability of vaccine vial monitors (VVMs) because the pandemic situation has prompted the government to do away with the open vial policy that allows storage and use of vaccines for a much longer time even after the vial has been opened.

Some vaccines under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) can be used for about four weeks after the vial is ope-ned (for the first time). This cannot be done without VVMs, as they display key indicators, specially the storage temperature, which helps in properly stocking and transporting vials.

“As there will be no VVMs and expiry date on the vial of the vaccine that will be supplied, cold chain maintenance will be of prime importance. Open vial policy will not be applicable and therefore the vaccination officer should mark date and time of opening vial, all open vials need to be discarded after four hours of opening or at the end of session,” the Union health ministry said.

Live virus vaccines must be maintained at a particular temperature. Once out of the cold chain, such vaccines can be used between 4-6 hours, Veteran virologist T Jacob John says. Only 100 people can be given vaccine shots per site/per day. Unlike the SII vaccine, the one being developed by Bharath Biotech is an inactivated vaccine, and an open vial policy may be applied.

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