The U.S faces a huge vaccine shortage. 

Learn about the concerning vaccine shortage in the U.S. and the high number of discarded doses. Find out why pharmacies and drugstores are wasting significant amounts of vaccines, and the impact this has on global vaccination efforts.

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According to data shared with NBC News by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pharmacies, states, U.S. federal agencies and territories discarded 82 million Covid vaccine doses from the start of December 2020 till the middle of the May, accounting for little over 11 per cent of the vaccine does provide by the government. That's up from the 65 million vaccines thrown out by the CDC as of late February, as per the Associated Press.


Due to the enormous amount of vaccination they handled, Walmart and CVS handled roughly 25 per cent of the unused does in the US during that time frame.

Costco, Publix, Rite Aid, Davita, and Health Mart— five additional drugstores – wasted fewer total doses, but a greater share of more than twenty-five per cent of the vaccination doses they got, much more than the average of the country. 

The total quantity of trash is comparable to projections from the World Health Organization for big immunisation programmes. 


However, experts of public health have said that the wastage is concerning during a time when booster shot has reached less than half of Americans — which is necessary to fight newer, more dangerous strains of Covid— and many impoverished nations continue to face vaccine shortages.

Dr Sheela Shenoi, an infectious disease specialist at Yale School of Medicine, said, "It's a terrible loss to pandemic control — particularly when it comes to millions of patients throughout the globe who haven't even obtained the first dosage."

Among all the vaccines thrown out are those that outlived their expiry period before being used, those that rotted by the thousands when due to freezer failure, and those which had no takers. 


The coronavirus vaccinations, unlike other immunizations in the US, come in multidose vials, which means all vaccine doses have a few hour expiry windows – otherwise, they must be thrown.

This, according to state health authorities and pharmacists, is a significant source of vaccination waste. Some people also claim that the immunizations arrive in such huge quantities that they have a huge surplus



Some drugstores, such as CVS and Rite Aid, have stated that providing the vaccination on demand is their top priority. They're prepared to make a bargain if putting an injection into an arm involves opening a fresh vial and squandering the leftover dosages.

Walgreens, U.S’s major drugstore chains, threw away 8.3 million pills, or around 10% of the over 79.6 million doses it received.

Experts and authorities warn that delivering injections into arms while minimising waste has grown more challenging as demand for vaccinations declines.

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