More than 65,000 vaccine doses wasted because of low uptake

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — With low demand for COVID-19 vaccinations in Alabama, the state saw more than 65,000 doses wasted because health providers couldn’t find people to take them before they expired, a state official said.

“All in all, we’ve counted 65,511 doses that have gone out of date,” State Health Officer Scott Harris told reporters this week.

“Sixty-five thousand doses have been wasted. That’s extremely unfortunate when we have such a low vaccination rate and of course, there are so many people in the world that still don’t have access to vaccine.”

The doses that expired represent less than 1.5% of the more than 5 million coronavirus vaccines doses that Alabama has received. Still, Harris said it is tragic to lose the potentially life-saving allotments.

Alabama is one of the least vaccinated states in the country. The state ranks last - at 34% - for the percentage of people fully vaccinated. In Alabama, 44% of people have received at least one dose of vaccine, a figure that ranks the state fifth from last.

Dr. Sarah Nafziger, vice president of clinical support services at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said the state’s high case number is related to its low vaccination rate.

“I would encourage you to go get your COVID vaccine as soon as possible,” she said.

Health officials have been hearted by a recent uptick in the number of vaccinations being given out each day.

Beginning on July 22, the number of daily vaccinations rose to more than 10,000 on most days for the first time since May. The state delivered 16,639 doses on July 30, compared to 7,144 on June 30.