North Carolina health officials say 1,280 COVID doses wasted


A healthcare worker prepares a Pfizer vaccine dose at a large-scale vaccination site at UNC’s Friday Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. Tuesday, Jan. 19 2021. UNC Hospitals hope to administer 2500 first COVID-19 vaccine doses at the Friday Center by the end of this week. (Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP)

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services said on Friday that the state has seen 1,280 of its coronavirus vaccine doses get discarded.

“Only 0.1% (or 1,280) of the 1.1 million doses which have entered the state thus far have become unusable for any reason and we have not received reports of significant batches being lost,” the department said in a statement to The Associated Press.

In a Thursday afternoon news conference, the state’s top public health official, Dr. Mandy Cohen, estimated the waste to be “in the tens of doses.”

Doses being administered at county health departments, clinics, hospitals and other places could be tossed out due to a vaccine being stored too long in a freezer or not being administered in a timely manner once it has been taken out of a freezer. There are currently 136 different vaccine providers in the state.

The health department said some providers are working to extract as many doses as they can out of multi-dose vials. Low dead-volume syringes allow for a sixth dose to be taken out of a vial of the Pfizer vaccine.

“In some cases, providers have been able to extract an extra dose out of the Pfizer supply, and we appreciate the hard work of providers to maximize the use of this supply,” the department said.

North Carolina expects to continue getting about 120,000 new first doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each week.

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