Public/Global Health

More than 600K vaccine doses thrown out in California since pandemic’s start: report


California health care workers have tossed nearly 645,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine since the country’s inoculation campaign began in December, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

According to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the figure represents 1 percent of 58 million doses made available in the state between Dec. 15, 2020, and Oct. 22, 2021. 

Experts have said the main reason why COVID-19 vaccines are thrown out is either the medicine has expired, has been mishandled or ruined, or has been opened and spoiled before use, according to the Chronicle.

California’s public health department told the Chronicle that wastage is “normal and expected” for any vaccine campaign, adding that their training to medical providers has led to “excellent vaccine management” across the state and less waste compared to other states. 

According to a Centers for Disease and Control Prevention figure, U.S. states on average have thrown away 4.8 percent of available vaccine doses. 

NBC News reported in September that vaccine providers threw more than 15 million doses between the months of March and August. 

UC Davis Health Chief Pharmacy Officer Chad Hatfield said that vaccine waste has slightly increased due to deliveries being moved from mass vaccination centers to smaller walk-in sites, the Chronicle reported. 

“That would be my speculation,” Hatfiled said. “As vaccinations have become less centralized, you might have one patient or 50 — and you might have to break into multiple vials, so that’s a challenge.”

Tags California California Department of Public Health COVID-19 vaccine excess COVID-19 vaccine doses San Francisco vaccine wastage
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