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DHEC: Broken vials, syringes contribute to most wasted doses in South Carolina

Updated: Feb. 24, 2021 at 4:53 PM EST

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – Leaders with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control addressed possible vaccine waste issues in the state.

Nick Davidson, the agency’s senior deputy for public health, said that there are four reasons for wasted doses listed in VAMS, the federal vaccine reporting system. Those reasons are broken vials or syringes, lost or unaccounted for vaccine, open vials but the vial is not administered and then vaccine that is drawn into the syringe but not administered.

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“The wasted doses provided by providers to VAMS is really quite minimal for our state compared to the roughly 800,000 doses that have been administered,” Davidson explained during a media briefing on Wednesday.

For Pfizer and Moderna combined, providers have indicated that the largest contributor for wasted doses is due to a broken vial or syringe. This could mean that the vials or syringes were damaged during shipping or could have been dropped while being handled.

Data from VAMS shows 2,619 doses of Pfizer or Moderna have been wasted due to this reason.

" When you look at them, they’re really tiny vials, and you’re wearing gloves, and so manipulating all that can be really challenging too. So clearly the providers are doing it, are doing so with great training and great finesse,” Davidson said.

The second highest reason for waste was a vial that was opened but not all doses administered. Davidson said there have been 815 doses total that have been wasted due to this reason.

“I think if I’m running a clinic that’s the one that I’m probably most concerned about because as I get toward the end of that clinic, I might have doses leftover. So to get to a number that low across the state, over almost a million doses is really impressive of the work our providers are doing,” Davidson said.

Data also shows that 177 doses were wasted due to vaccine drawn into a syringe but not administered, and there have been 19 lost or unaccounted for doses.

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