HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The supply of the COVID-19 vaccine in Connecticut is now outweighing demand in the push to vaccinate the state. So what do we do with the extra doses?
Governor Ned Lamont said Thursday we are approaching 70% of residents 16 and older with at least their first dose. As they are closing on that number, however, that means there are more doses out there and not as many people taking them, and some are going to waste.
One vial of the Johnson & Johson vaccine contains five doses, Pfizer six, and Moderna will soon be 15 doses. And they can’t go back into the freezer once they’re opened.
Dr. Brita Roy of Yale New Haven Health told us, “We mainly worry about once we’ve opened a vial, and give one dose, can we give the remaining four to soon 14 doses?”
To encourage more people to get vaccinated, recently, healthcare providers started offering walk-up shots with no appointment necessary.
“Which is fantastic because it increases access,” said Dr. Roy, “But those are unpredictable and so with those walk-in appointments, there will invariably be more waste than there had been when we were requiring appointments only.”
“When we talk about waste, we’re talking about very small quantities,” said the state COO Josh Geballe.
At the capitol and at the health department they are working on vaccine logistics, trying to figure out how much they are going to need from week to week as the federal government continues to send orders their way.
“This was the first week where our providers didn’t order our full allocation from the federal government,” explained Geballe. “And that already happened several weeks ago and a lot of other states, but now we are in the position where we have a lot more supply.”
Now that demand is slowing – and to save on waste – there will soon be a shift from mass vaccination clinics, to local neighborhood locations.
“And going forward is going to be a lot more about doctors offices, the pharmacy, and a mobile unit at a parade those kind of smaller-scale events, but just make it as convenient for people,” Geballe added. “We want to bring the vaccine to them as opposed to ask them to come to a max vaccination site.”
Doctors say the COVID vaccine is much like the flu vaccine, a lot of times the flu vaccine goes to waste just because of the way the system is set up; you have multiple doses in one file. This is going to be what happens as they move forward through this new age of trying to get everyone vaccinated.