CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been tossed or damaged in Ohio since the rollout of the vaccines last December, our 19 News Vaccine Team investigation found.
But we discovered that’s just a small fraction of the total shots given across the state.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, 10,128 is the number of COVID-19 vaccines thrown out or damaged in Ohio since December.
To put this into perspective, data we obtained from ODH shows unused doses make up just about .1% of the doses administered.
The health department says that’s “less than the CDC expectation of 5% of unusable doses.”
As of May 2, 7.1 million doses have been given out in Ohio.
These numbers don’t include doses distributed by federal programs.
Providers with unused doses
The 19 News Vaccine team pored through a list of nearly 200 vaccine providers, mostly pharmacies and health departments statewide.
We found the top five places with unused vaccine doses:
1. 1,035 doses: Third Street Family Health Services, Mansfield
2. 890 doses: Specialty RX, Columbus
3. 804 doses: Giant Eagle, statewide
4. 500 doses: Wilson Care, Sidney
5. 369 doses: Good Neighbor Pharmacy Group, statewide
Why are vaccine doses thrown out?
Vaccine doses that have spoiled or expired need to be discarded.
ODH says “it is not the provider’s fault if they receive a vaccine that is already damaged.”
The health department tracks vaccines as “unusable,” not wasted, when reported by state providers.
They say temperature changes and accidents like vials breaking can make the vaccine unusable.
The health department keeps track of all of these records and classifies it under that provider since it was shipped to them.
ODH gives guidance to providers to cut down on wasting the shots.
Nearly 200,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted nationwide since late March.
That’s less than one percent of vaccine doses distributed.
More perspective on the numbers
A Giant Eagle spokesperson told 19 News its pharmacy has given out more than 500,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine and “has been responsible for one in every 30 shots given throughout Ohio.”
Meanwhile, Good Neighbor Pharmacy said unused vaccines in Ohio make up one percent of their total doses given to pharmacies in our state.
Here are their full statements, we have not heard back from the other providers we contacted.
In partnership with state and local health authorities, Giant Eagle Pharmacy has been actively supporting COVID-19 vaccine distribution throughout Ohio and is committed to acting as a responsible vaccine administrator. Our pharmacies have procedures in place to confirm the viability of all vaccine received and ensure that vaccine is properly handled until it can be connected with an eligible patient. As the number of already vaccinated patients continues to grow and additional vaccine supply has become available, there has been a decrease in vaccine appointment demand. Any vaccine that arrives in an unusable state or is not able to be administered to a patient prior to expiration is reported to the Ohio Department of Health in alignment with state guidance. To date, Giant Eagle Pharmacy has successfully administered more than 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine across its footprint and has been responsible for one in every 30 shots given throughout Ohio.
-Giant Eagle spokesperson Jannah Jablonowski
Good Neighbor Pharmacy/Amerisource Bergen
AmerisourceBergen and Good Neighbor Pharmacy are proud to support independently owned and operated pharmacies nationwide and help them get access to COVID-19 vaccines for their local patients, communities, and socially vulnerable populations. Just this week, we’ve now allocated more than 1,000,000 COVID-19 vaccines to independent pharmacies across 46 states, Puerto Rico and Guam since our program began. Independent pharmacies in our program in Ohio are working hard every day to support their communities and get shots in arms. Good Neighbor Pharmacy’s program data in Ohio shows unused vaccines making up 1% of our total allocation to our enrolled pharmacies in the state.