Vaccine glut sees stockpiles trashed

By Scoop
March 8, 2022 · less than 3 min read

While ‘rona isn’t over, vaccine demand is tumbling across multiple states – leaving many vaccine shots wasted

Covid case rates are dropping and immunity is holding up, but as the pandemic rolls on, it’s a gut-punch to see millions of vaccine doses go to waste.

Use them or lose them

The US vaccination program has been a huge success. A year ago, millions were anxiously waiting to get their vaccine – and sometimes pushing in line to get theirs faster. Now, the situation looks very different.

State health departments are reporting that millions of tracked doses have gone to waste, with expiry dates leaving them scrambling to shuffle around shots just to get them used. Even states with the highest uptake in vaccines are seeing huge wastage; California saw only 1.8% of shots unused when the campaign was running smoothly, but after more than 71 million shots were administered, we’re looking at 1.4 million that never left the vial.

Is the end in sight?

It’s easy to be critical. And sure, anti-vax sentiment continues to challenge health authorities. But sceptics aside, we’re in a much better position than we were a year ago. Vaccine production is booming, including in low-income countries, and hundreds of millions of shots have been administered, with around 76% of the US population having had their first jab.

Demand is sinking, normality is resuming and health officials are now even recommending that multi-dose vials are used for only a single dose… as long as they are used. Immunization experts say some waste is par for the course in relation to such a wide-scale vaccination program, so maybe there are reason to be positive among the waste. We’ve not beaten Covid to the finish line just yet, but it looks like we’re in poll position.

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