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Why Did The USA Dispose Of 82 Million Covid-19 Vaccine Doses?

Towards the end of the first year of the pandemic, the world was resting its hopes on a successful vaccine rollout. However, between December 2020 and March 2021, reports suggest the USA disposed of a staggering 82 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccination! Read on to learn more about why these doses were disposed of and how this could have been avoided.

What Was The Problem?

The main issue centred on the fact that COVID 19 vaccine doses come in multidose vials, which means all the doses must be used within hours once the vials are opened. As most medical providers were offering the vaccine on demand, many new vials were being opened to provide one or two shots, causing the unused doses to go to waste. However, reports found there were three main reasons why doses were disposed of, which were:

• They expired on shelves before they could be used
• They were spoiled when the power went out or freezers broke
• They were thrown away at the end of the day when no one used the remaining doses in an opened vial

It's believed that two retail pharmacy chains, Walmart and CVS, were responsible for more than 25% of the doses that were thrown away. Walmart wasted approximately 10 million doses, which is about 22% of the 44 million doses it received, while CVS wasted nearly 11.8 million doses, which is about 13% of the nearly 90 million doses it received.

Perhaps even more alarming, the state of Oklahoma binned 28% of its 4 million doses, while Alaska threw away nearly 27% of its 1 million doses.

How Can We Prevent Vaccine Dose Loss?

While the issue in the USA was mostly down to human error, temperature data loggers would have still proven very effective. A data logger is a piece of software that keeps track of information such as temperature and expiration dates, preventing people from having to monitor doses manually. Not only does this save time and effort, but it also prevents money from being lost due to unused doses being thrown away and reduces human error. Using a data logger from Signatrol can help pharmacies control their supply chains, keeping as many doses as possible viable while treating a large number of patients quickly.

A solution we recommend is to use two different sensors. The first can monitor the fridge temperature, and the other can monitor the vaccines themselves. This allows for any dip in temperature to be picked up and signalled before the dip affects the actual product. This could potentially save a significant sum of money.

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Image source: Unsplash

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