That number of wasted vaccines accounts for more than 11 per cent of the doses distributed by the federal government during the pandemic, reports NBC News.
Retail pharmacy chains CVS and Walmart were responsible for more than a quarter of the discarded doses in the US during the time period. This is a reflection of the volume of doses each company handled, said the report.
The wasted vaccines were caused by a variety of factors, including doses that expired at pharmacies before they could be used, power cuts, broken freezer storage and open vials being thrown out at the end of business days unused.
CVS wasted nearly 11.8m doses, or about 13 per cent of the 89.9m it received.
“We often have to open a multidose vial at the end of the day for a single walk-in,” the company said in a statement.
“Those vials have a very limited shelf life, which unfortunately means unused vaccine will be disposed of. The same challenge is faced by others administering vaccinations.”
Walgreens wasted 8.3m doses, or about 10.5 per cent of the nearly 79.6m doses it received. The company said that people not shoeing for appointments, cancellations and open vials were the main factors behind the waste.
“The latest CDC guidance advises that providing Covid-19 vaccinations should be prioritized, even if it leads to vaccine waste,” the company said.
Five other companies, Health Mart, DaVita, Rite Aid, Public and Costco, wasted more than a quarter of the doses they received.
Two states also threw out more than a quarter of their doses. Oklahoma got rid of 28 per cent of the nearly 4m doses it received, while Alaska discarded nearly 27 per cent of its 1m doses.
In the US more than 588m doses have been given, according to Bloomberg, Around the world more than 12bn doses have been given in 184 countries.
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