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Walgreens confirms it had to throw out vials of expired COVID-19 vaccines

The Walgreens store is located in Ohio, but the company is not identifying which store.
Credit: Jonathan Weiss/shutterstock.com

Walgreens has confirmed that seven vials of the COVID-19 vaccine had to be thrown out because they expired after the vials were returned from an Ohio long-term care facility.

The company said a pharmacy had to throw away the seven Pfizer vaccine vials.

A long-term care facility in Lawerence County ordered 39 more vials than needed. Each vial contains five doses.

They attempted to reallocate as much of the vaccine as they could. 

Thirteen of those vials were given to some people off-site and another 19 were used on residents 65 years old and older along with members at the onsite pharmacy.

A company spokesperson issued this statement to 10TV:

“Recently, we experienced a situation where the number of vaccine doses requested by a long-term care facility far exceeded their actual need. We are committed to eliminating scenarios where vaccine expires due to shelf life while at the same time focusing our efforts on immunizing eligible patient populations in each roll-out phase. Our pharmacy team followed our process to immediately use as much of the vaccine as possible at other long-term care facilities, as well as provided vaccines to Walgreens pharmacy team members and to members of the community age 65 and older. Unfortunately, seven vials expired before they could be administered on New Year’s Eve.

We have taken steps to ensure every dose of the vaccine is used to protect patients and communities by updating our procedures to reconfirm the number of vaccine recipients with facilities before beginning the thawing process. We continue to work closely with long-term care facilities to ensure that their dosage requests don’t overestimate their actual need, as well as with state and federal health agencies in our ongoing efforts to vaccinate residents in long-term care facilities.”

When Gov. DeWine was addressed about the reports of wasted vaccines on Tuesday, he said he was only aware of one incident where the vaccine had to be thrown out because it expired.

The governor also announced that Phase 1B of the state's vaccine rollout plan will begin in approximately two weeks.

DeWine said the timeframe is dependent on how much of the vaccine the state receives and how quickly it receives it.

Phase 1B includes people 65 and older, individuals with severe medical disorders, and adults working in schools.

Ohio remains in the midst of Phase 1A of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Phase 1A includes several groups of health care workers, residents in long-term care facilities, EMS responders and others.

According to Gov. DeWine, Phase 1A includes approximately one million people. It will remain ongoing as needed as Phase 1B begins.

The state’s vaccination distribution plan can be seen here.

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