• February 9, 2023

Reports Of COVID Vaccine ‘Spoilage’ Grow : Shots

As the speed of COVID vaccinations increases, so do reports of wasted doses. Sean Gallup / Getty Images Hide caption

Toggle labeling

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

As the speed of COVID vaccinations increases, so do reports of wasted doses.

Sean Gallup / Getty Images

As the speed of COVID vaccinations increases, so do reports of wasted doses. And it’s more than a handful at the end of the day as some appointments have been canceled. Health officials are trying to address the problems that lead to waste, but without slowing down the adoption of life-saving vaccinations.

The incidents include the 335 discarded cans in Lee County, North Carolina damaged in shipping and recent problems in Tennessee, where nearly 5,000 cans were wasted in February, leading to additional federal oversight.

“I definitely lost some sleep,” said Beth Ann Wilmore, the director of nursing at Mercy Community Healthcare in Franklin, Tennessee. She manages the COVID vaccine inventory at the nonprofit clinic, which has been receiving supplies for a month.

Clinics like Mercy are used to handling vaccines, but not one that is so valuable that it has special cooling needs.

“I definitely woke up in the middle of the night and wondered how the temperatures were developing. I was like, ‘Ok, I hope it’s good and it doesn’t give me a flag or anything.'”

Many community health centers receive the Moderna vials, but they are easier to use than Pfizer still difficult. The Moderna vials last up to 30 days after being taken out of the freezer, as opposed to five days for Pfizer. Once the seal on the vial is broken, there are only six hours left to use the shots.

So far there has been no waste at Mercy. But Wilmore heard the horror stories from elsewhere in the state.

Beth Ann Wilmore is the director of nursing at a community health center in Franklin, Tennessee. She says she lost sleep because she was concerned about the temperature in the freezer where her clinic’s COVID vaccine supply is kept. Blake Farmer / WPLN News Hide caption

Toggle labeling

Blake Farmer / WPLN News

Beth Ann Wilmore is the director of nursing at a community health center in Franklin, Tennessee. She says she lost sleep because she was concerned about the temperature in the freezer where her clinic’s COVID vaccine supply is kept.

Blake Farmer / WPLN News

In neighboring Murfreesboro, Tennessee, the local school district received a thousand doses for a teacher vaccination event last weekend in February. But they were turned into a unapproved freezer. The temperature sensor on the shipment has displayed an error code. As a precaution, they were advised to throw them all away.

“It hurts my heart,” says Dr. Lisa Piercey, the Tennessee health commissioner who uncovered one of the biggest spikes in the country for reported spoilage.

She says the losses are painful because the shots are “priceless” amid this deadly pandemic. But one of the risks is having so many places to get the vaccine.

To improve access and justice, Tennessee now has more than 700 vaccination sites across the state. More are to be opened as vaccine deliveries increase in the coming weeks.

“It definitely increases concern when you have more partners – especially partners who are not under your direct control,” she says.

Even Tennessee’s large urban health departments that operate independently of the state health department are getting into trouble.

There were a thousand cans in Knoxville kicked out, apparently confused for a related shipment of dry ice. In Memphis, the county has health director resigned After slowly announcing that batches of almost 2,500 cans were allowed to run several times. Some decay times were due to winter weather, but poor management in the county pharmacy was also a factor.

The state has brought in officials from the Federal Disease Control and Prevention Centers to oversee vaccine distribution in Memphis and stepped up audits for all local health departments in the state.

There are so many ways that cans go bad. in the West Palm Beach, Fla., The power supply to a mobile refrigerator has been switched off. in the ConnecticutA refrigerator door did not close properly, although the cans were recovered in good time in consultation with Moderna.

Health officials have gone to great lengths to avoid wasting doses, such as: spontaneous mass vaccination in Nashville’s homeless shelters after winter storms canceled hundreds of appointments.

Dr. Kelly Moore, associate director of the Immunization Action Coalition, says a little spoilage is expected. It’s still far less than 1% of the doses, even in states like Tennessee and Florida, which have reported large losses.

“I would be more concerned if I saw reports of wasted zero doses,” says Moore, because then her concern would be transparency.

“You want to see some waste because that means that people are paying attention and that accidents happen in the real world and that they are being properly responded to,” she says. “You just don’t want to see negligence.”

It is hoped that breakdowns will be easier to avoid with the newly authorized people Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Not only is it effective as a single dose, but also after months of storage in a normal refrigerator.

This story was co-produced as part of the NPR partnership Kaiser Health News and Nashville Public Radio.

Jack

Read Previous

25 stocks of companies backed by rapid earnings growth as the economy reopens

Read Next

‘Home Is Not A Country,’ By Safia Elhillo : NPR

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *