COVID-19 vaccine doses allowed to spoil at Missouri, Kansas clinics

Samuel U. Rodgers mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic
Posted at 10:32 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 23:52:38-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — During a COVID-19 vaccine clinic Thursday at the Garrison Community Center in Kansas City, Missouri, there were enough doses for 700 people. Only about 425 showed up, but the Moderna vaccine that wasn't used will still go into arms on another day.

"We're hoping to use up the vaccine that we didn't use today next week," Dan Gillen, director of clinical operations at the Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center, said. "It's all maintained at the right temperatures and we can take it back to our facility, keep it there until next week."

But that's not the case everywhere, during a Feb. 27 mass vaccination clinic in Putnam County, which is located in northeast Missouri, 143 doses were thrown out.

According to the Putnam County Health Department, a variety of reasons — including not all vials rendering six doses, no-shows and duplicate appointments — were to blame. The department said once a vial is diluted, it must be used within six hours.

The mass vaccination clinic was one of 28 in Missouri from Feb. 22-27, which involved the Missouri National Guard.

According to the Missouri Department of Public Safety, 152 of 7,735 that were sent to clinics had to be thrown out. Most were in Putnam County, but doses also went to waste in Douglas, Greene, Henry and Pettis counties.

With more clinics planned, coordinators said there are lessons to be learned.

"We're very careful to make sure that we don't waste any vaccines," Gillen said. "We've done over 1,000 vaccines at this point and really haven't had any wasted."

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said he will add more mass vaccination clinics in St. Louis and Kansas City.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, between Dec. 21 and March 2, there have been 352 doses deemed to have been wasted due to reasons such as shortages in the vials, expiration, or broken vials and syringes.