Thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses lost to spoilage or discarded across US
LOS ANGELES - President Joe Biden said Tuesday during a COVID-19 briefing that he expects the U.S. to have enough vaccines available for all adults by the end of May, but amid the race to vaccinate as many Americans as possible, there have been reports across the country of thousands of doses of the coronavirus vaccine going to waste.
RELATED: 4,400 doses of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine spoiled en route to Maine due to inadequate refrigeration
Hospital officials in Boston told the Associated Press on Jan. 21 that nearly 2,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were spoiled at a Veterans Affairs hospital after a contractor accidentally unplugged a freezer.
In January, public health authorities in Maine said that more than 4,000 doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine en route to the state exceeded temperature requirements and were spoiled.
COVID-19 vaccine is stored at -80 degrees celsius in the pharmacy at Roseland Community Hospital on December 18, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said the 4,400 doses of Moderna’s vaccine exceeded the required temperature during their journey to 35 sites in the state. He said the sites have set the vaccine doses aside and will receive replacement doses on Tuesday and Wednesday.
RELATED: US will have enough COVID-19 vaccines for all adults by end of May, Biden says
An investigation launched by Tennessee health officials last month found that more than 2,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines in the state’s most populous county went to waste while local officials sat on tens of thousands of shots that they thought had already gone into arms.
In a separate incident in February, public health officials in eastern Tennessee announced that 975 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that went missing were likely thrown out by accident.
More than 500 unused doses of COVID-19 vaccine were discarded in Arizona’s most populous county, according to health officials who said doing so helps maintain quality.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health wasted 553 doses across five distribution sites between Dec. 17 and Jan. 20, FOX 10 Phoenix reported last month with information gained from a public records request.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey said Feb. 2 on Twitter that vaccine doses going to waste is "shocking and unacceptable" and that it must be prevented from happening.
Nearly 77 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered across the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chris Williams and the Associated Press contributed to this story.