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248,000 Vaccines Wasted, Arkansas Department of Health Says

A health worker receives a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
Report from Department of Health shows Arkansas has wasted 248,000 vaccines (Photo: NBC)

Department of Health reports revealed that approximately 248,000 vaccines had been wasted since Arkansas’ vaccination program began.

Arkansas has received over four million doses of vaccines since the beginning of the State’s vaccination program. However, all the vaccines shipped in the State were not administered due to various reasons.

World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show, 50 percent of vaccines are wasted globally. This number varies significantly among countries, healthcare environments, and types of vaccines. However, the COVID-19 vaccines are different, and this is due to the low supply to meet the high demand. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reportedly said that among the millions of vaccine doses delivered to different U.S. states, around 0.44 percent are wasted.

Read also: Breakthrough COVID Deaths: Scientists Explain Its Risks

Vaccine vials that are not consumed after extracting will be discarded (Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson)

Why Do Vaccines Go To Waste?

There are numerous reasons why a vaccine is discarded. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccine wastage may be due to the following reasons;

  1. Vaccine vials remain an excessive amount of time outside of a specified temperature range.
  2. The person giving the vaccines does not use the entire amount of dosages in each vial due to the wrong needles used to extract.
  3. Vaccine vials are unsealed, but the doses contained within are not used within a specified period.
  4. Vaccines are not used before expiry dates.

In a report from KATV, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, Arkansas Department of Health Director for Immunization, stated that the primary cause of wastage in Arkansas is the discarded doses in a vial. She noted that once the needle is inserted into a vial, it must be consumed within six hours to avoid being discarded. 

Additionally, the number of expired and broken vials increases the vaccine wastage figures. Dillaha expects continued wastage as the vaccination program continues. However, she is hopeful that the vaccination of children ages 5 to 11 could help minimize the wastage.

Related articleChildren Age 5-11 Can Get COVID-19 Vaccines By November In Arkansas


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