Small percentage of COVID-19 going to waste in central North Carolina

Coronavirus

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s becoming clearer how many vaccine doses have gone to waste in North Carolina as the vaccine distribution continues. The state said it has distributed 1.1 million doses and that 1,280 of them have been thrown away. That’s a tenth of a percent of the doses.

CBS 17 checked with local counties. Harnett, Moore, Orange, and Halifax counties said they’ve had zero waste. Wake County said five doses had to be thrown out.

“We always ensure we’re using every drop. You know, sometimes we get even 11 doses out of a 10-dose vial,” said Bruce Robistow, the Director of the Halifax County Health Department.

He explained that their drive-thru clinics have worked well.

“We keep a shortlist of people that are highly qualified to be vaccinated. And if we have a little bit left, we call people in,” Robistow said.

Orange County has been doing appointments only. It also has a list on hand. Then there’s the backup to the backup.

“We’ll also see if any staff need to. Staff who are administering the doses are also eligible to get the vaccine at this phase,” said Todd McGee, the Orange County Community Relations Director.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are temperature sensitive. Vials have to be used within hours of being defrosted. That can lead to expired doses. Vials can also break.

Both counties said the computer software they use to report doses they’ve given out continues to be an issue.

“We ended up not getting any new first doses for this past week because the state didn’t think we had been using all the ones we had been given,” McGee said.

Robistow said he doesn’t have the manpower to input all the data it requires. That means the state thinks he still has doses. His allocation was cut in half for next week. He said he’s requested help.

“We just have obstacles to work through, things to learn, and patience,” Robistow said.

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