Distribution challenges force disposal of expired coronavirus vaccine doses

Distribution challenges force disposal of expired coronavirus vaccine doses

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - More than 22 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed to healthcare facilities across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But only about 7 million people have received the first dose.

“The issue is not the supply of the vaccine, the issue is not being able to get enough people injected with the vaccine,” Dr. David Shulkin, former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, told NBC News.

Some hospitals are forced to throw away vaccines that quickly expire once they were taken out of cold storage. Dr. Joseph Flynn with Norton Healthcare says they’re working quickly and aggressively.

“It really is a careful monitoring of the doses you have, who’s on your list,” Dr. Flynn said. “You only thaw out the doses you know you’re going to be giving. And that’s why it’s so important that we’ve been using risk of exposure and setting up appointments for people so we match up the dose with the person.”

The Commonwealth of Kentucky has received 239,550 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to its latest report on Friday. Between 32 locations, 107,799 doses have been administered so far, leaving 131,751 still available.

Indiana has received more than 430,000 doses of vaccine according to the CDC. The state is expecting 78,000 doses per week from Moderna and Pfizer combined. Nearly 427,000 vaccination appointments have been scheduled through the end of January.

WAVE 3 News reached out to Indiana and Kentucky to find if any doses have expired and been thrown out.

Dr. Flynn says Norton has administered more than 11,000 doses so far - and ready for more.

“We’re limited just by the number of doses that we’re getting from the federal authorities and that’s important. the companies are rolling them out as quickly as they can and we’re willing and ready to administer as able.”

Friday, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said the state set a new goal to administer 90% of all vaccines received in the state within seven days of arrival.

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