Two large U.S. pharmacies are responsible for wasting thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CVS and Walgreens accounted for 70% of the vaccines wasted in the country, or nearly 128,500 injections, according to government data obtained by Kaiser Health News. The CDC reported that 182,874 shots were wasted through the end of March.
CVS accounted for about 49% of lost shots while Walgreens accounted for 21%, according to the data.
Vaccines wasted in pharmacies exceeded the number of vaccines wasted in all US states combined. Indeed, states and major cities accounted for only 23.3% of wasted COVID-19 vaccines while federal agencies only accounted for 1.54% of unused vaccines, according to the Daily News.
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The Pfizer vaccine, the first vaccine to be available in the United States, accounted for the most wasted vaccine doses, accounting for 60% of vaccines thrown away.
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CVS spokesman Michael DeAngelis told KHN in an email that the wasted doses were the result of “problems with transport restrictions, limitations on redirection of unused doses and other factors.”
Storage and temperature issues were the main reason so many vaccines were wasted. COVID-19 vaccines should be stored at cold temperatures and become unusable when sitting too long.