Excess supply causing 400,000 COVID-19 vaccines to expire by end of August

Most of those doses have to be used in the next four weeks.
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Not too long ago COVID-19 vaccine supplies were in short supply in Michigan. Now, health officials are having a hard time giving them away, leading to a new problem: expiration dates.

“Demand dropped off really fast, so literally right as vaccines were available to us with just about as much as we wanted to order, we were having demand that far exceeded our supply up to that point,” Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail said. “Then all of a sudden we have plenty of supply we order plenty of supply, and demand starting dropping off at that point.”

Now there’s a plateau because of people not getting the vaccine. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services took their own data plus the help of federal data to assess doses expiring in the next four weeks.

Here’s what they found:

  • Between 260,000 to 270,000 J & J doses are expiring
  • Between 106,000 to 114,000 Pfizer doses are expiring
  • Between 8,000 to 22,000 Moderna doses are expiring

Most of those doses have to be used by the end of August. The state has vaccinated only 1.5% more of Michigan residents since the start of July and that number isn’t budging much, still leaving doses unused.

“The last two months we’ve seen a significant decline in the demand. I think the people that were really eager to get those vaccines right out of the gate... pretty much that population has been accommodated,” said Dr. Courtland Keteyian, Vice President for Population Health at Henry Ford Allegiance Hospital. “Now, we’re in the phase where we’re trying to convince people and address concerns so the demand is just slower right now.”

Ingham County Health Department has 3,700 doses expiring in mid-August and henry ford has 7,000 Pfizer doses expiring at the end of August. Both are working to give those to other states and pharmacies in Michigan, but it’s inevitable there will be some waste.

“We’d like to use them...,” Dr. Keteyian said. “But the demand just hasn’t been there like it was before so hopefully we see that change.”

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