CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As healthcare providers work tirelessly to get the COVID-19 vaccine in as many arms as possible, they are navigating new challenges. Vaccines have gone to waste in several states, including Ohio.
In New York, medical providers had been forced to toss precious doses of vaccines in the trash due to difficulties in finding patients who matched the state’s guidelines when those scheduled didn’t show up. In Columbus, nearly 1,000 doses of the vaccine were ruined due to improper storage.
“It’s such a precious resource. I mean, it’s just it’s terrible you just can’t, you can’t waste it,” said Dr. Robyn Strosaker, Chief Operating Officer at UH Cleveland Medical Center. “We are very meticulous about our process to make sure that the vaccine is stored properly; we know how long it can go from the freezer into the refrigerator.”
Dr. Strosaker says in the past two days, they’ve given out 1,200 vaccines, and they expect to administer 5,000 by the end of this week.
“That is a problem, and it’s all very much a function of the way vaccines are delivered, so they’re in multidose vials. five or ten doses, and so you can schedule a clinic in multiples of five or ten, but you’re absolutely right if patients don’t show up, you’re gonna have waste.”
Strosker says they’ve had very few no shows. On Wednesday, they had a clinic of 650 patients, and only five didn’t show.
“So really very small percentage especially compared to other no-show rates with other healthcare appointments, very very few,” she said.
Dr. Stosaker says if they end up having a surplus of the vaccine, they have a backup list ready to go with patients waiting to get the vaccine.
“Yes, that’s what we’re trying to do, and if for some reason they can’t come, they don’t show up, we will find arms of people and we will use that vaccine,” Strosaker said.
Strosaker says they have had people show up at the door and ask if they have any doses left, but they do not want people to do that. She says they are trying their best to stick to the governor’s guidelines.
“The people who have come have said that they registered with multiple people, and we called them first, we’ve also seen those people have registered with us multiple times, dozens of times,” said Straker. “So, we’re having to go through our data and making sure that we understand exactly how many patients we have.”
19 News also reached out to the Cleveland Clinic to see if they have had this issue; they said all their vaccinations are appointment only, and they’ve had very few no shows, but they do have a standby list just in case.