In pharmacies and other medical establishments across the United States, over 82 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been thrown away, according to NBC News. This number accounts for over 11% of total vaccines produced by the federal government.

The breakdown: Walmart and CVS were responsible for 25% of the waste, according to Axios.

  • Rite Aid, Costco and other pharmacies were also reported to have wasted more than 25% of the vaccines they received.
  • NBC reports that two states — Alaska and Oklahoma — threw away more than a quarter of the vaccines they received. Alaska discarded 27% of the 1 million vaccines received, and Oklahoma discarded 28% of almost 4 million doses.
  • The Associated Press reports even more waste across the country — 1.5 million doses in Michigan, 1 million in Illinois, 1.45 million in North Carolina and nearly 725,00 doses in Washington.
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Why are the shots going to waste? There are several reasons why COVID-19 shots might have to be thrown out.

  • The Associated Press says that doses get thrown away because they expire, or sometimes they’re wasted due to broken vials or temperature issues.
  • Other reasons for waste are no-show vaccination appointments, cancellations or open vials expiring, according to NBC.

Vaccination rates: Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that out of over 751 million vaccinations distributed, about 589 million doses have been administered.

  • In the U.S., 221.6 million people are fully vaccinated.
  • Meanwhile, 104 million people in the U.S. have one booster shot, and 15.7 million people have received both boosters, per the CDC.