Skip to Content

Millions of COVID vaccines wasted as statewide transmission increases


New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows more than 82 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been discarded nationwide since the start of the pandemic.

The most recent data from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services shows COVID spread has increased in the past week. St. Louis County is now in high transmission, the first county to enter this stage since the new data tracking system was introduced. Mid-Missouri remains in low transmission.

Over half of Missouri's population has received one or more doses of the COVID vaccine. As vaccination rates slow, more and more vaccines are disposed of. The information from the CDC shows that 11% -- or nearly 20 million -- of the vaccines distributed between December 2021 and May of this year were discarded.

According to the CDC COVID Data Tracker, Missouri ranks 42nd out of 52 in the national ranking of fully vaccinated populations.

In an emailed statement, Boone Health said it has given more than 50,000 doses of the COVID vaccine to individuals and has vaccines available at primary care locations.

"Boone Health follows FDA and CDC recommendations and discards vaccines when their safety has been compromised or they expire. While we do not release the specific numbers regarding our discarded inventory, the number of discarded doses is a small fraction of the amount of doses given out," the statement reads.

The CDC says it's necessary to create vaccine waste "when there is insufficient volume in the vial for use or when the vaccine dose is spoiled or expired." Vaccines may be disposed of when they're not at the proper temperature because they have a short shelf life.

There are local rules and regulations on how to dispose of medical waste. Missouri law requires infectious or medical waste to be disposed of in leak-proof containers that don't allow any needles or other sharp objects to puncture through.

Providers must report their vaccination waste through the federal Vaccine Tracking System.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Hannah Falcon

Hannah joined the ABC 17 News Team from Houston, Texas, in June 2021. She graduated from Texas A&M University. She was editor of her school newspaper and interned with KPRC in Houston. Hannah also spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and loves political reporting.


ABC 17 News is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content