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Health officials trying to keep Covid-19 vaccine doses from going to waste



LOWELL, Ark. — The Arkansas Department of Health is reporting a total of 1,900 wasted Covid-19 vaccine from December 14, 2020, to March 31, 2021. However, during that same time, the state administered a total of 1,142,892 doses.

The majority of the wasted doses are from vaccines not being administered.

Many clinics and pharmacies are continuing to see a decline in Covid-19 vaccine appointments. This is now prompting the question, is the vaccine supply outweighing the demand?

“It could be a lack of awareness. In the past, we would schedule an event without much because there was so much demand. The demand exceeded supply,” said John Vinson, CEO of Arkansas Pharmacist Association.

Health officials are working to make sure more of the vital vaccines don’t go to waste. Many clinics and pharmacies are offering walk-in appointments and giving an earlier notice of clinic vaccination events.

Despite this, they still prefer Arkansans to schedule an appointment.

“Having that schedule allows us to then, have those doses on hand and be ready and available,” said Ryan Cork, NWA Council Healthcare Transformation Division Executive Director.

“Their appointments are falling off where there’s less demand and they have open appointments, and they asked the state to put a hold on maybe getting a full order this week because they have more doses than people,” Vinson said.

Whenever that happens, the state redistributes those unwanted doses across the state.

One dose the state will be seeing less of is the single-shot Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website, Arkansas will go from 43,000 doses given to the state this week to 2,500 doses being given next week.

Pharmacies and clinics say they are trying their best to get all Arkansans vaccinated.

“We’ll work to get rid of whatever vaccine that were provided. Our goal is to get vaccines in people’s arms,” said Richard Taffner, NW Region Director for ADH.

To schedule an appointment with the Sebastian County Health Unit call 1-800-985-6030.