Effort to ensure COVID-19 vaccine is not wasted

Effort to ensure COVID-19 vaccine is not wasted

BOSTON — There are plans in place to make sure COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t go to waste but that hasn’t stopped it from happening.

On Tuesday, Boston 25 News reported that Brockton Neighborhood Health Center lost multiple doses, after an audit performed Wednesday morning, the number is now said to be just one dose.

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This came after numerous healthcare workers with the health center did not show for their vaccine appointments, said CEO Sue Joss.

“Everyone that goes down the drain whether it’s our fault or not is one vaccine that someone’s not benefiting from so we’re taking this seriously,” said Joss.

On Jan. 1, Boston 25 News reported on extra vaccine received by Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington from another healthcare company which came on ‘short notice’ forcing Lahey officials to scramble before the vaccine expired.

Boston 25 News spoke Wednesday with Dr. Paul Biddinger, Medical Director of Emergency Preparedness and chairs the state’s vaccine advisory group if he has a sense for how much vaccine has been wasted since shipment began in late December in the commonwealth.

“A very small amount would be my guess,” Biddinger said.

Biddinger said vaccine distribution is an immense logistical challenge for health organizations because of the level of cold storage needed for both the Moderna vaccine, and ultra-cold for Pfizer’s vaccine in addition to scheduling challenges and having people on standby for extra vaccine.

“Anywhere that’s doing vaccination needs to come up with a contingency plan to call in people at the last minute,” Biddinger added.

East Boston Neighborhood Health Center has inoculated about 1,000 members of its staff said COO Greg Wilmot.

“As the state moves toward a pretty aggressive rollout we want to make sure nothing goes to waste,” Wilmot added.

A spokesperson with Mass General Brigham said there have been no reports of wasted vaccine amid the vaccinations of 29,000 health care workforce, the same was said by a spokeswoman for UMass Memorial. As of Tuesday night, UMass Memorial had vaccinated 5,600 workers.

Thursday, the state’s next vaccination report is scheduled to be published which will detail vaccine received and administered.

Signature Healthcare told Boston 25 News:

“Signature Healthcare has extensively planned dissemination of the COVID-19 vaccine to our staff. We have administered nearly 1,500 doses, organizing 171 hours of clinic time. Once the vaccine is reconstituted, it must be administered within 5-6 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions. After this time, the vaccine is considered expired and must not be administered. In those 171 hours of clinic time and 1,500 doses administered, we project 5 to 9 doses of the vaccine expired. The vaccine comes in groups of doses. We schedule staff members to receive the vaccine in groups mirroring the number of doses. If doses remain at the end of the clinic, we contact scheduled staff members on the list to receive the vaccine, so we can administer the remaining doses. We also have offered walk-in and weekend clinics to make it easy and convenient for all staff. We are carefully following the State’s Phase 1 vaccine dissemination guidelines, which detail the vaccine be given to healthcare personnel at this time. We look forward to the State moving to Phase 2 in the vaccine dissemination process.

We received a total of 2,275 doses of the vaccine.”

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