Officials investigate usable COVID-19 vaccines thrown away in New Jersey
New Jersey has given out more than 214,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. The majority have been the first dose, with nearly 15,000 second doses.
But News 12 New Jersey has learned from some officials that some doses of the vaccine are going to waste, even as state officials insist that they are not getting enough from the federal government.
Paterson’s health officer says it is not like hundreds of doses are going to waste. He says that sometimes there is an extra dose left in a vial and now he is scrambling to make sure that they do not go to waste.
“Like today, we had, I said 110 doses, but in reality, after that we realized it’s not 110, it’s 114 doses,” says Dr. Paul Persaud.
But Persaud says that he doesn’t know that until they go through the vials. Four people were willing to wait on Monday to see, so those four doses did not go to waste.
Gov. Phil Murphy says that the federal government is to blame for the vaccines being scarce. But the state has only used about 40% of its doses.
Adding to the frustration is word that some shots end up being disposed of. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says that her department is tracking this, but says that she could not provide specifics.
“I don’t know the numbers in front of me. It’s minimal in connection to the number of doses out there,” she said.
Persichilli said that vaccine sites should try to give leftover shots to anyone, even those who are technically still not eligible to receive the vaccine.
“We do not want any wastage, but inevitably there will be some,” she said.
“Persaud says that he admits that at the beginning of the vaccine rollout they had to get rid of some doses. But he says that he is still figuring it out as they go.
“So, what I intend to do is create a pool of, let’s say seniors for example, who can come at short notice,” he says.
There are 200 vaccination sites in New Jersey. If all had four doses left over at the end of the day, that would be 4,000 wasted doses during a week.