HOUSTON — While people wait patiently to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some doses are being tossed in the trash.
KHOU Investigates learned in Texas nearly 2,000 of the 3.1 million doses shipped never made it into an arm.
Every dose of the vaccine is valuable and must be handled and stored with care. Yet some are thrown away before they ever make it to a patient.
The Texas Department of Health Services keeps track of the number of doses shipped. Providers are required to report wasted doses to the state within 24 hours.
KHOU 11 Investigates did an analysis of the state’s data and found a small number, .06%, were wasted. That’s 1,751 doses of the more than 3.1 million shipped. About 699 doses were spoiled. And 562 doses were labeled other.
Twenty percent of the wasted doses were due to refrigeration issues.
Clincias Mi Doctor on Broadway Street reported the largest number of vaccines wasted, 230 doses tossed due to refrigeration issues. That was followed by an Orthopedic Specialists of Austin with 64 and Best Value Hometown Pharmacy in Weatherford with 40 doses wasted for the same reason.
The state told KHOU Investigates that on Jan. 2, Clinicas Mi Doctor experienced an equipment failure that resulted in the loss of 230 Moderna vaccine doses. The issue, they say, has been resolved.
DSHS said they do not penalize providers who waste vaccines. They released the following statement:
“DSHS holds twice-weekly meetings with providers to educate them on the latest vaccine information, including the proper storage and handling of each type of vaccine. Providers are required to report the number of doses that were discarded because they were unusable. DSHS will reach out to providers that report a large number of doses as discarded to ensure that they remedy any situation that may have caused vaccine to be wasted, such as issues with improper refrigeration.”
A spokesperson for Clinicas Mi Doctor said in a statement, “Clinicas Mi Doctor is committed to the safe distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine and is taking steps to ensure equipment is more closely monitored.”