As vaccine demand falls, states are left with huge stockpile

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As demand for the COVID-19 vaccine declines in many parts of the United States, states are struggling to use the vaccine collection before it expires and must be added to the millions already depleted.

From some unvaccinated states, such as Indiana and North Dakota, to some of the most vaccinated states, such as New Jersey and Vermont, public health departments are varying doses in hopes of finding suppliers. that they can use.

The state Department of Health told the Associated Press that they had tracked down millions of damaged doses, including those that were protected, in a multi-dose injection that could not be used at all or and discarded for any other reason such as a fever problem or. broken cans.

Nearly 1.5 million doses in Michigan, 1.45 million in North Carolina, 1 million in Illinois and nearly 725,000 doses in Washington cannot be used.

The number of vaccines lost in California was only about 1.8 percent, but in a state that received 84 million doses and administered more than 71 million of them, which is equivalent to 1.4 million doses. Volunteers on the spot are required to keep the doses until they are finished, and then disperse them properly, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The problem is not unique to the United States More than a million doses of Sputnik in Russia prevention ended this week in Guatemala, because no one wanted to take the shot.

Immunization program managers say vaccination is inevitable in every campaign because of the difficulty of balancing supply and demand with limited product life.

But meningitis has killed nearly 6 million people and crippled the global economy, and any lost species feel like a missed opportunity given the success of the vaccine prevention measures to prevent death and serious illnesses.

It also comes almost a year after people hoping to get vaccinated tried to jump online to get ahead of those who seem to be more of a priority. Hospital board members, trustees and donors across the United States have had early access to vaccines, raising concerns about bias and unfairness when developing countries are virtually unavailable.

And many poor countries still have low immunization coverage, including 13 countries in Africa that make up less than 5% of their total population. T hey are suffering from uncertain delivery, poor health care, delayed immunization and other supply issuesthough health officials say the load is stronger than before in the epidemic.

In fact, supplies are so strong that the Centers for Disease Control has advised doctors that it is not wrong to discard vaccines if it is meant to open several standard bottles to vaccinate one person and then discard the rest.

“Given what is happening now, you have more production and distribution to less powerful countries,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, who is leading the COVID-19 Vaccination Program at the Task Force for Global Health in Decatur, Georgia. “Some collections in the United States, Germany and Japan, which are not subdivided into sub-Saharan Africa, are not a problem at the moment because the current supply of vaccines is weakening those countries. service. “

The Ministry of Health and Public Works also said that the redistribution of over-the-counter vaccines to other countries was not possible due to the difficulty of transporting the vaccines, which must be kept cool, in addition to ineffectiveness due to limited amount of focus. pages.

Of the 688 million doses sent to the states, 550 million to 600 million were given, HHS said on Monday. US-approved vaccines, developed by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, can take up to six months from production time.

A senior HHS official who is familiar with immunization distribution plans will not say how many doses across the country have already been labeled as wasteful, saying there are too many variables that could quantify the cost. nationwide as a whole and states will get better statistics. The official referred to the word “wastage,” saying it meant a lack of governance when states took good care of their resources.

The CDC, however, uses the word “wastage” on its website and asks states to report their numbers. The commission did not respond to requests for comment.

The average number of Americans getting their first shot has dropped to nearly 70,000 a day, the lowest since the US immunization campaign began in December 2020. Nearly 76% of the U.S. population has at least one shot and almost 65% of all Americans are fully immunized.

With less demand, states will no doubt face more waste in the coming months, although they will benefit from any further expansion.

Idaho, for example, has 230,000 doses on hand but has an average of less than 2,000 doses administered per week.

Oregon immunization rates are slightly higher than the national average, but the health department there said last week they had “significant immunizations on hand” due to a recent decline in demand. The state is trying to use as many as 716,000 doses in its products as much as possible.

Rhode Island has the highest percentage of residents who have had the full range of immunizations in the population, a little over 80%, but health The department reported 137,000 doses on hand last week. Health officials say they need to make a major move to increase the number of alarms.

Health officials in some states have developed “matchmaker” programs to connect vaccine providers with higher doses with vaccine providers. Many say they are trying to redistribute the doses with expiration dates that are fast approaching. New Jersey has had a project that has pushed over 600,000 doses across the state since June. West Virginia has offered to transfer adult Pfizer doses to nearby states.

Immunization managers have been looking for a single vial, especially for pediatricians, but it may not work for the industry to integrate it yet, says Claire Hannan, executive director of the Immunization Management Association. She says the loss of antibiotics “just can’t be the issue.”

“We are telling the producers of this thing, but the most important thing is to get people to be vaccinated. And that is difficult when the demand is low. You do not have regular flow of water,” she said. “But that’s just the worst I have to guess.”

HHS said states are ordering carefully, while keeping pace with declining demand. The minimum order for Pfizer was about 1,200 doses but now stands at 100, and Moderna has reduced the number of doses per vial, the commission said.

Katie Greene, assistant researcher, said: “Based on what we have seen in terms of the number of people who have not yet been vaccinated, I think finding a way to get shot, even if the risk of loss is killed, is still important. , “said Katie Greene, assistant researcher. director at the Duke-Margolis Center for health policy.

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