Maricopa County says it is not wasting usable vaccine doses

NBC News

After questions about unused vaccine doses in Maricopa County, the county public health department announced Tuesday evening they are not throwing away any usable doses of the vaccine, reports The Arizona Republic.

Across the five county-led distribution sites, 553 doses out of 153,196 doses administered through Jan. 20 had to be discarded.

“This represents 0.3%, which means that 997 out of every 1,000 doses received by the PODs goes into arms. For perspective, the standard acceptable wastage for all vaccines is normally about 5%,” county officials wrote.

Health care partners administering the vaccine across the county report to public health any vaccine waste. Manufacturers have told providers to throw out the vaccine if there are concerns about quality or if the vial has any unreadable information in order to make sure the doses are safe, according to the county.

Issues can include unreadable labels or expiration dates, floating matter in the vial, partially filled vials, bent needles, mixing errors, bubbles in the syringe or other equipment issues.

“These are common issues that occur anytime vaccines are given, particularly during large volume operations,” per the county. “Any large vaccine administration site that claims that ‘no doses are wasted’ is not operating safely.”The county says it plans for no-shows and cancellations and administers leftover doses to volunteers eligible as health care workers or law enforcement personnel on standby.

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February 2021