The U.S. has wasted millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses since the pandemic began, with many more ready to be tossed in the garbage in the coming weeks and months as they expire, according to a damning new report from ABC News. Roughly 50,000 Americans are still getting their first dose each day.
The U.S. has vaccinated just 66.6% of its population against covid-19, the lowest rate among any wealthy country in the world. In fact, the U.S. is ranked 62nd in the world for covid-19 vaccinations, right behind Nepal (66.9%), Sri Lanka (67.4%), and Iran (68.4%), according to Johns Hopkins University.
The ABC News report notes that concrete figures are tough to come by and they’re changing every day, but the amount of waste, even when it’s just a ballpark figure, is staggering when you see how difficult it’s been for many poorer countries to even get access to the vaccines.
For example, North Carolina alone, where just 63% of the population has gotten at least two doses has seen 1.7 million covid-19 shots gone to waste. And in Michigan, where only 60.2% of the population has been fully vaccinated against covid-19, another 1.7 million shots have been sent to landfills. Over 100,000 more shots are set to expire in Michigan within the next two weeks alone.
And while it’s great the U.S. has doses to spare for anyone who wants one, it points to the tremendous inefficiencies and waste of the country’s private health care system. The problem, as experts note, is that once the doses have been delivered to pharmacies and clinics, they can’t be easily rerouted to another part of the world that might have people who are more willing to take up the vaccines.
The U.S. reported 97,966 new cases of covid-19 on Wednesday and 684 deaths, with just 43 of the 50 states reporting totals. Florida alone reported 4,590 new cases on Wednesday, up substantially from weeks prior.
Vaccines have become a lightning rode of controversy not just in the U.S. but around the world, as countless people spread misinformation about supposed harms that befall people who get jabbed. All of the covid-19 vaccines that have been approved in the U.S. have been shown to be safe and effective. And if you haven’t gotten yours yet, there’s still time. In fact, if you don’t get your vaccine soon, it’s just going to wind up at the dump.