Walgreens and CVS have wasted more doses of COVID-19 vaccines than most U.S. state vaccination programs combined, a Kaiser Health News report finds.
Together, the pair of pharmacies had thrown out more than 128,000 doses - more than half of the total wasted vaccines doses in the U.S. - as of March, according to a Kaiser Health News investigation.
But perhaps more concerning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) does not even have data on wasted doses from 15 states, meaning the agency could be blind to where precious vaccine is getting tossed out.
More than 30 states shared data on how much vaccine they knew had been wasted in their rollout efforts with KHN, revealing that at least 182,675 more doses had been tossed out, without the CDC's knowledge.
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CVS and Walgreens had thrown out a collective 128,000 of the 182,000 total Covid vaccine doses wasted in the U.S. as of March 29, a Kaiser Health News report found. That's 14-times more than the greatest number wasted by a state - Texas, with 9,200 wasted doses
In total, the CDC's records show that 182,874 doses of Covid vaccine have been thrown out across the country, as of late March.
That's a small fraction of the 312.5 million delivered across the country, but not an insignificant number considering those doses could have fully vaccinated at least 91,000 people.
Covid vaccines are fragile, to be sure. Those made by Pfizer and Moderna have to be stored at extremely cold temperatures, and are unusable if they get too warm or spend more than a fewer hours defrosted without finding someone to give them to.
Their thin needles can break and any potential contamination renders doses unsafe to use.
But Walgreens and CVS in particular have been under fire over much of the shot-rollout for botching scheduling and moving too slowly.
Walgreens quietly ignored CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on dosing schedules, giving both Moderna and Pfizer shots four weeks apart instead of giving the second Pfizer dose after the appropriate 21 days.
And some people had their second does appointments abruptly cancelled - sometimes after arriving on site - after the company realized patients were being booked for