Two national pharmacy chains that the federal government entrusted to inoculate people against COVID-19 account for the lion's share of wasted vaccine doses, according to government data obtained by KHN.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded 182,874 wasted doses as of late March, three months into the country's effort to vaccinate the masses against the coronavirus. CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens was responsible for 21%, or nearly 128,500 wasted shots combined, NBC News reports.
CDC data suggest that the companies have wasted more doses than states, U.S. territories and federal agencies combined. Pfizer's vaccine, which in December was the first to be deployed and initially required storage at ultracold temperatures, made up nearly 60% of the tossed doses.
However, one thing is clear: Months into the vaccination drive, the CDC has a limited view of how much vaccine is going to waste, where it's being wasted and who is wasting it, potentially complicating efforts to direct doses where they are needed most. Public health experts say having a good handle on waste is crucial to detect problems that could derail progress and risk lives.
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