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13,000 COVID-19 Vaccine Doses Thrown Out In Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, more than 13,000 vaccine doses wound up in the trash instead of in the arms of Pennsylvanians. This news comes as the CDC reports more than 180,000 wasted doses as of late March.

The state Department of Health says they plan to release official breakdown information about who is wasting vaccine, how much and why starting next month. But that waste is upsetting local independent pharmacists who say they haven't wasted a dose.

"I am heartbroken over that because those are doses that we could have had in arms that week," said independent pharmacist Adrienne Cervone.

"We were ready. We've given flu shots in the community, we go to patients' homes, we do these clinics remotely. We know what to do with vaccines," said Cervone.

Imagine her surprise reading the headlines Monday morning.

Of the CDC's 182,874 wasted doses, Kaiser Health News reports CVS was responsible for nearly half, and Walgreens 21 percent.

KHN reports the waste totaled nearly 128,500 shots, according to government data obtained by the news organization.

"We have a list of 6,500 people who are waiting for shots and Beaver Health Mart Pharmacy has wasted zero," said Cervone.

CVS didn't give KDKA a total number but said nearly "all" of the reported waste happened within the long-term care facility program, saying "our teams were able to limit waste to approximately one dose per onsite vaccination clinic."

Walgreens said 0.5 percent of vaccines were discarded out of 8 million doses, citing issues with broken vials and temperature control in cold storage.

"Mind-blowing. So, I hope that in the future we are -- independent pharmacies are -- recognized for what we do," said Cervone.

Whatever is leftover of syringes and vials at the end of the night, Cervone will take out in her car and head into peoples' homes to administer the doses. One of the perks, she says, of truly being connected to your community.

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