State wastes more than a hundred COVID-19 vaccines, health leader explains what happened

Updated: Apr. 1, 2021 at 6:56 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - More than a hundred COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted since vaccinations began in Alabama, according to a state health leader.

Deputy State Health Officer, Dr. Karen Landers said the state has had to toss 110 doses of COVID-19 vaccines due to providers not being able to pull enough doses from vials.

The wasted doses are from Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

“Pfizer is supposed to be a six-dose vial but when you can’t get the sixth dose that’s technically a wasted dose,” Dr. Landers said.

The problem is sometimes providers are only able to draw 5 of 6 doses.

Pfizer released specialized syringes to help pull all the doses from their vials, but Landers said even with that providers may still have trouble getting all the doses.

With the Moderna vaccine, Landers said leaky syringes are the problem.

“When you pull the vaccine or you start to give the vaccine, you’ll have some vaccine come out between the needle and the syringe,” Landers said.

The leaky syringe issue has been fixed, according to Landers, who said although the state doesn’t want to lose any vaccine, in the grand scheme of things, after administering 1.6 million doses statewide, wasting 110 doses is minuscule.

“These are not situations where vaccines have been available in a clinic and no one was there to take it. But these are situations that are unavoidable,” Landers said.

The state urges providers to do all they can to make sure no vaccine is wasted by having a plan to give out extra doses at the end of the day.

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