Report: U.S. has discarded over 15 million COVID vaccine doses since March
The U.S. has discarded at least 15.1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines since March 1, according to government data obtained by NBC News.
Why it matters: The data comes as the Delta variant spreads rapidly across the country, and after the Biden administration announced plans to roll out booster shots — renewing the need for an ample vaccine supply.
- Globally, some nations have struggled to vaccinate large majorities of their residents — in many cases due to limited vaccine supply.
Driving the news: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention obtained by NBC reveals that four national pharmacies — Walgreens, CVS, Walmart and Rite Aid — have wasted more than 1 million doses each.
- Walgreens reportedly discarded 2.6 million doses, CVS reported 2.3 million discarded, Walmart reported 1.6 million and Rite Aid reported 1.1 million, per NBC.
- Health departments in four states — Texas, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma — each reported more than 200,000 wasted doses, NBC reported.
- Reasons for discarding doses include cracked vials, errors diluting the vaccine and freezer malfunctions, among other things.
The big picture: The data on wasted doses — still a small fraction of the overall doses distributed in the U.S. — is based on self-reporting from pharmacies, states and other providers, meaning more doses may have been wasted than reported.
- More than 440 million doses have been distributed in the U.S. as of Wednesday, and more than 111.7 million doses have been sent abroad as of last month.
Go deeper: CVS and Walgreens have wasted over 128,000 COVID doses