The U.S. Has Wasted More Than 82 Million COVID Vaccine Doses
Multidose vials make it hard to avoid waste
Pharmacies, states, U.S. territories and federal agencies discarded 82.1 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from December 2020 through mid-May — just over 11 percent of the doses the federal government distributed, according to data the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shared with NBC News. That's an increase from the 65 million doses the CDC told The Associated Press had been wasted as of late February.
Two retail pharmacy chains, CVS and Walmart, were responsible for over a quarter of the doses thrown away in the United States in that time period, in part due to the sheer volume of vaccine they handled.
Five other pharmacies or dialysis centers — Health Mart, DaVita, Rite Aid, Publix and Costco — wasted fewer overall doses, but a higher share: more than a quarter of the vaccine doses they received, well above the national average. Two states also discarded more than a quarter of their doses: Oklahoma, which tossed 28 percent of the nearly 4 million doses it received, and Alaska, which threw away almost 27 percent of its 1 million doses, according to the CDC data.
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