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More than 600 doses of coronavirus vaccine wasted in Missouri


Thousands of Missourians are on waiting lists to get coronavirus vaccines. More than 600 of them could have gotten at least one dose had they not been wasted.

"If you look at the universe of almost a million vaccines, we have to keep up with everything that's wasted. It is literally less than 1,000," said Dr. Randall Williams, the director of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services.

ABC 17 News obtained records from the Department of Health and Senior Services that show 631 doses of the coronavirus vaccine were wasted through Jan. 31.

With the state reporting more than 1 million total doses having been administered as of Thursday morning, about .058% of doses have gone to waste.

In comparison, officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said 200 doses have been wasted through Feb. 16. This accounts for about .039% of Kansas' 506,401 total doses administered as of Thursday morning.

A bulk of Missouri's wastage was because of delivery issues; 400 doses shipped to Compass Health in St. Peters were not kept within the correct temperature range during delivery. Even though Compass Health was not responsible for this wastage, none of the 400 doses were replenished through the federal stock.

Only four hospitals in mid-Missouri reported wasted doses. All of them were from Pfizer.

Lake Regional Health System: 2

Both doses were reported in the ShowMeVax system as "wastage" without a specific reason.

Anthony Kauten, the pharmacy manager at Lake Regional Health System, said that one dose was dropped and the other was not used within the required time frame.

"In spite of your best efforts, you're trying to get people here and trying to get them here on time," Kauten said.

In order to avoid wasting doses, Kauten said Lake Regional tries to schedule appointments in groups of six (the number of vaccines in one vial) and uses a wait list to fill last-minute cancellations.

"It's been very, very minimal when you talk about probably upwards of 4,000 doses being administered and having just a very small amount of waste," Kauten said. "We're pretty proud of that."

Moberly Regional Medical Center: 2 

ShowMeVax records show that two doses were wasted when only three doses were given out of a vial.

Moberly Regional Medical Center has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City: 10

SSM Health St. Mary's in Jefferson City reported through ShowMeVax that vaccine vials inadvertently refroze.

“In regards to the 10 doses that had to be discarded, that was due to a storage issue. As a pre-positioned site (now high-throughput hospital), we receive vaccine shipments and redistribute those to other healthcare facilities in the area. We removed a shipment of vaccine from our ultra-cold storage and placed the doses in a cooler for transport to a vaccination site. Upon arrival and during the unpacking process, it was discovered that two of the vials had re-frozen while in transport. Per manufacturer’s guidelines, vaccine should not be used if it refreezes. Those 2 vials accounted for 10 doses. We have not encountered that issue again. SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital is proud to be a part of the vaccination effort to protect our patients and our community against COVID-19.”

Jessica Royston, SSM Health Mid-Missouri Region

University Hospital: 7

According to ShowMeVax records, five doses were wasted when one vial was not administered within the storage and handling time frame. The two other doses were reported as wasted because they were not administered.

"MU Health Care is honored to offer the COVID-19 vaccination to the community, and we take great care to ensure no dose is wasted.  Since receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in December, we have administered more than 16,000 doses. Unfortunately, we had one vial that became compromised during an employee vaccination event, resulting in a handful of lost doses. However, our pharmacy staff successfully extracted extra doses from other vials per federal guidelines to more than make up the number lost from the compromised vial. We are excited to receive an additional 4,000 doses next week and we continue to cooperate with local and regional health care organizations to ensure we can vaccinate as many people in the region as quickly as possible."

Eric Maze, MU Health Care
Article Topic Follows: ABC 17 News Investigates
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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.


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