Newly-released data shows that not only have Covid-19 vaccination rates been lagging in the US, but over 15 million doses have actually been thrown out.
The millions of doses were scrapped by pharmacies and state governments charged with distributing them since March 1, according to government data.
Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week shows major chains tasked with inoculating citizens have lost millions of vaccine doses. Pharmacy chain Walgreens has reported approximately 2.6 million wasted doses, while rival pharmacy chain CVS has had around 2.3 million.
Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma reported the most wasted doses.
Wasted doses in July were 4.7 million, an increase of 300,000 from the 4.4 million wasted doses reported in July. August was slightly lower, at 3.8 million wasted doses reported.
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More than 360 vaccine doses have been administered in the US, and more than 440 “delivered” within the US, and more than 100 million more to other countries.
CVS directly responded to the report, with a company spokesperson boasting to NBC that the company has administered tens of millions of vaccines and “when given the option of potentially saving a life or slightly improving our reported waste figures, we’ll always choose the former.”
The specific reasons for each of these scrapped doses is not known, as the information is provided independently, but Covid-19 vaccine doses may be scrapped due to a cracked vial or a freezer malfunction leading them to be kept at the wrong temperature. When vials contain fewer doses than they should, this can also lead to a “wastage report.”
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CDC spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund has insisted that that wasted vaccines remain miniscule in comparison to doses actually put to use.
The number of wasted doses, she told NBC News, “remains extremely low, which is evidence of the strong partnership among the federal government, jurisdictions, and vaccine providers to get as many people vaccinated as possible while reducing vaccine wastage across the system.”
Health officials from the Biden administration have already announced their intention to unveil a plan to recommend booster shots on top of the doses millions of Americans have already received, in response to rising case numbers and the delta variant.
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