Why is this happening? Covid-19 vaccines have a short shelf life once they are thawed out for use, Jha said. And because of federal and state mandates, hospitals and other health care providers would rather risk a dose going bad than give it to somebody who isn’t scheduled to get a shot.
At the same time, states like Massachusetts now have rules requiring hospitals to report the number of vaccine doses that have been discarded, Jha said.
“The problem is that hospitals that do report this get pilloried in the press for wasting vaccines,” Jha said. “So, many hospitals are not reporting and this is happening across the country.”
While there doesn’t appear to be any solid numbers yet of how many of the Covid-19 vaccines have been discarded in the United States since the rollout began last month, the World Health Organization warned in 2005 that up to 50 percent of the vaccines released globally each year end up in the dumpster because of supply chain problems, such as not having enough freezer space or transportation issues.