DENVER (KDVR) — Colorado continues to appear as though it is vaccinating its citizens more efficiently than other states.
The state health department said it has only been notified of one incident in Pueblo in which 300 doses were ruined because a storage unit malfunctioned.
“The state’s goal is to use every single available vaccine, acknowledging that emergencies may occur infrequently in the distribution process,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said via email.
The Colorado State Joint Information Center said the state health department is required to report wasted or spoiled vaccine doses, which are then reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By most metrics, Colorado’s vaccine program appears to be successful. It is in the top 20% of states in two metrics that speak to the program’s efficiency.
Colorado is administering a greater percentage of the vaccines it receives than most U.S. states. It is also among the best-ranked states in term the amount of vaccines administered per capita.
After Wednesday’s discovery in Pueblo, the concern of wasted vaccines came into sharp relief.
“The state is aware that Pueblo Local Public Health rendered 300 doses of the Pfizer vaccine unusable after a portable vaccine storage unit malfunction,” wrote the Joint Information Center. “The state’s goal is to use every single available vaccine, acknowledging that emergencies may occur infrequently in the distribution process.”
Nationally, vaccine wastage has become an issue after new orders will put more of the vaccine into play that originally planned.
Colorado will get twice as many weekly vaccines as before. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as part of a directive from President Donald Trump, is prioritizing first rounds of vaccinations instead of rationing for the required second round.
Spoilage comes from this speed and from general tics of the medicine.
Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccine vials have more than the intended dosage in them. With efficient syringes, there is often an extra usable dose in each vial that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has told health care workers not to waste.
These extra doses do not come with extra syringes, however, so hospitals are having to search for the equipment to even administer them.
UCHealth’s Jessica Berry noted that the hospital provider has enough staff and equipment to administer all vaccines.
Nationally, many people who do not fit the rollout list have been vaccinated simply to keep up with the DHHS dictate. Hundreds of vaccines have been made available to the public after a freezer malfunctions or time limits are reached.