The United States is wasting millions of doses of the Covid-19 vaccine even as the shortage affects many parts of the world.
At least 15m dose they were discarded in the US between March and September, according to an analysis of CDC data. A separate investigation was found 1 million dose they were discarded in 10 states between December and July.
The states continue to throw unused shots. Louisiana has cast 224,000 unused doses of Covid vaccines, a rate that has nearly tripled since late July, even as a fourth deadly wave of the virus washed over the state. Some of the missed doses were due to the vials being opened and not finished, but more than 20,000 injections simply expired.
Wasted doses represent a small fraction of the number of injections given in these states; in Louisiana, for example, 4.4 million doses have been successfully administered.
But the news comes as millions of people around the world are waiting for their first doses. Only 1% of the population in low-income countries had received the first shots in July, compared with more than half of the people living in a handful of high-income countries.
Many of the discarded doses came from pharmacies. By May, two drug store chains had wasted more doses than the U.S. states, territories, and federal agencies. Together, for nearly three quarters of mixed doses. Now, at least 7.6 million discarded doses come from four main pharmacies: Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid.
There are multiple reasons why doses have been wasted: sometimes a vial is broken or does not contain as many doses as promised; needles sometimes malfunction; the freezers break down or the power goes out. People often miss appointments and the dose reserved for them in a vial is not used.
But as vaccines across the country have stalled after peaking in mid-April, a growing problem is simply that vaccines are expiring amid vaccine vacillation in the US. extended than you first imagined.
Before June, just over 2 million doses had been wasted, NBC News reported. But over the summer, those numbers spiked, along with the virus itself, six times as doses expired and vaccines dropped.
The Biden administration has lobbied to use the US vaccine stockpile for boosters, sometimes clashing with scientific agencies over who needs the added protection of an extra injection.
Officials are also working with vaccine manufacturers to reduce the number of doses in each vial.
Faced with global inequalities, it is not so simple like states that donate unused vaccines. Doses already distributed to states cannot be reused internationally due to bureaucratic and safety concerns related to proper storage of vaccines.
Joe Biden has pledged to vaccinate 70% of the world next year and has pledged to donate several million doses for use abroad. But meanwhile, many countries are scrambling to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable and those working on the front lines of the pandemic, while Americans reject vaccines.
Manufacturers should also increase production to address global shortages, the administration said. Moderna, for example, needs to “step up as a company” when it comes to global vaccine production, David Kessler, scientific director of the Biden administration’s Covid-19 response, said On Wednesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism