The U.S. Is Literally Throwing Vaccine in the Trash

Yet another bureaucratic fumble by leadership

Here’s why.

There are multiple vaccine doses in one refrigerated vial; when a vial thaws, it must be used within a matter of hours. If a clinic has no-shows or scheduling errors, the extra doses end up tossed. Two sources told me they were vaccinated simply for being near hospital premises at closing time. (Wondering if I should tell my elderly nun friends to mill about Walgreens at dusk?).

Another issue:

While staggering target groups according to supposed need seems optimal, this strategy might not actually be the most productive. CNN reported that people in “high-priority groups,” like residents in senior-living facilities, don’t always want to get the vaccine first. Stringent laws also forbid healthcare workers from distributing outside the target group; they could face severe consequences for administering vaccines to anyone else, even if they can’t fill spots otherwise.

The hopefully good news:

Cuomo did expand eligibility today, giving access to New Yorkers aged 75 and older. There’s also some new leniency regarding rollout; if there are extra doses at the end of the day, all public-facing employees (such as cashiers) can get them. California implemented a similar policy for lower-priority groups.

Meghan Gunn is a writer. tweeting @95gunn

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store