A survey showed that the United States has thrown away at least 15.1 million doses of covid-19 vaccine since March 1 of this year. Information about the immunizations discarded by pharmacies and state governments was obtained and released by the North American TV network NBC News.
The data was released yesterday by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to a request for public records. The report, however, not includes why the immunizers were discarded.
Among the causes for waste can be included: broken vial or a vaccine dilution error, storage temperature problems, more or less number of doses per vial, among others.
According to information, four national pharmacy chains reported missing more than 1 million doses each. Walgreens declared the biggest waste, with nearly 2.6 million immunizations lost. In the CVS network, the number was not very distant, reaching 2.3 million discarded doses. Walmart reported 1.6 million and Rite Aid 1.1 million plays out.
Although this data is reported to the CDC by pharmacies, states and other vaccine suppliers themselves, they may represent a lower number than the actual number. This is because, as explained by NBC, there is a lack of information on some state and federal establishments.
According to the TV network, the failure in notifications can be observed, for example, in the case of Michigan. While the CDC lists only 12 doses lost since March, the state’s Department of Health and Human Services reported it has thrown away 257,673 doses since December.
In response to inquiries from NBC, the spokesperson for Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Kristen Nordlund, said the share of wasted vaccines “remains extremely low”. According to her, this demonstrates a strong partnership between the various levels of government and vaccine providers to vaccinate as many people as possible, as well as reduce waste.
“As access to covid-19 vaccine has increased, it is important for providers not to miss any opportunity to vaccinate all eligible people who present to vaccine clinics, even though this may increase the likelihood of leaving unused doses in a bottle,” he said.
Sought by the television network, Walgreens, Walmart and Rite Aid did not respond to requests for comment. A CVS spokesman said that while they regret “having to discard any vaccine”, they are “extremely proud” of their employees, who “helped administer more than 30 million doses”.
Until yesterday, the number of doses distributed in the country reached 438 million. The US had also shipped 111.7 million to other countries as of 3 August.