A survey of data from 10 states shows that more than one million doses have gone to waste since the nation began administering Covid-19 vaccines in December.
More than 110,000 doses have been destroyed in Georgia, officials there said. Of the more than 53,000 doses wasted in New Jersey, nearly 20,000 were discarded in June, up from around 4,000 in April. In Ohio, more than 370,000 doses have been reported as unusable by state providers, while around 50,000 doses in Maryland were not used, officials said.
Reasons for vaccine wastage include breakage, storage, and transportation problems, expiration, and shots that were prepared but not used after people did not show up for appointments, officials said. In many states, data show that wasted or unusable doses are no more than 2 percent of those received from the federal government and successfully administered.
“It’s better to give two doses and waste 12 than to leave 14 doses sitting in the freezer,” said Kristen Dillon, a director of the Oregon Health Authority’s Covid-19 Vaccine Planning Unit.
Like officials in many other states, Mr. Ator, a retired National Guard colonel who runs the state’s vaccination effort, said he stopped ordering additional doses in April as demand dropped, and he has since shifted to repackaging doses in smaller quantities for distribution to drugstores and doctors’ offices. Despite his efforts, Mr. Ator projected that about 100,000 doses of the state’s stockpile could expire over the next three months.