At least 15 million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the U.S. have gone to waste, with the number of unused doses rising, according to NBC News.
Citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NBC reported that four major national pharmacy chains have each reported wasting at least 1 million COVID-19 vaccine shots each.
According to the self-reported numbers, Walgreens reported wasting 2.6 million doses, CVS reported 2.2 million, Walmart reported 1.6 million and Rite Aid reported 1.1 million.
NBC notes that the data provided by the CDC does not include all states and federal providers and also does not say why doses were not administered. A wastage report can also occur if a vaccine vial has fewer doses than it is meant to.
Overall, the 15.1 million wasted doses reported by the CDC represent about 3 percent of the more than 441.3 million doses that have been delivered in the U.S. so far.
Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson for the CDC, told NBC that the percentage of wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses “remains extremely low, which is evidence of the strong partnership among the federal government, jurisdictions, and vaccine providers to get as many people vaccinated as possible while reducing vaccine wastage across the system.”
“As access to Covid-19 vaccine has increased, it is important for providers to not miss any opportunity to vaccinate every eligible person who presents at vaccine clinics, even if it may increase the likelihood of leaving unused doses in a vial," Nordlund added.
According to the CDC, over 370.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. so far. At least 72 percent of the U.S. population eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine has received at least one dose according to the agency's most recent data. Around 62 percent of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.