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Once mRNA vaccines like Moderna and Pfizer’s are prepared for use, they must be administered with a short amount of time.
More than 110,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been destroyed in Georgia since December 2020, when vaccines were first administered in the state, Georgia health officials said.
Georgia Department of Health spokesperson Nancy Nydam told Fintech Zoom that 110,079 doses were destroyed because they were not being used.
There are various reason for vaccines to go unused, according to Nydam, including doses not being needed after being prepared, parent or child refusal, damaged vials, syringe leaks and apparent contamination.
Vaccines using mRNA, as the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines do, have a short life once they are prepared. Once the Pfizer vaccine is mixed for administering, it will only last for six hours. Health care providers are advised to discard remaining vaccine after that time.
According to data from Georgia Department of Health, destroyed doses included thousands from all three approved manufacturers, Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson.
“With more than 8.5 million doses going into arms, that is a very small percentage (1.4%) that go unused,” Nydam said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate/allowance for vaccine wastage is 5%, so Georgia is well below that percentage, Nydam said.
In March, when demand for vaccine was much higher around the country than it is now, CDC records showed that less than 1% of the 155 million doses reported adminsitered by March 29, were reported as wastage by 35 states, 17 pharmacies and three other federal agencies through March 29.
The vaccination rate in Georgia continues to lag behind much of the country. According to the state’s data, 39% of residents were fully vaccinated, while 44% had had at least one dose as of Monday morning.
According to CDC data, 48.6% of the US population is fully vaccinated, and 56.1% have had at least one dose of vaccine.
“Georgia continues to follow best practices for using every dose of vaccine possible, however, as supply now exceeds demand, we also will not miss the opportunity to vaccinate someone when they are ready to be vaccinated,” Nydam told Fintech Zoom.