Nearly 1,300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio reported as ‘unusable’

NBC4 Investigates

Tonight on NBC4 at 6, watch for more from Jamie Ostroff as “NBC4 Investigates” gets answers to why Ohio has fallen behind every other state in vaccinations.

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With COVID-19 vaccines scarce in Ohio, every dose is precious. But NBC4 Investigative Reporter Jamie Ostroff has learned that nearly 1,300 doses have reported as “unusable” since the state’s program began in December.

An official with the Ohio Department of Health said Wednesday that 1,269 doses have been flagged. Unusable doses are classified as those wasted, damaged in transit, or doses lost for which the provider could not be held responsible.

It also includes the 869 doses lost by SpecialtyRx when it failed to properly monitor the temperature at which it was storing its vaccines. SpecialtyRx was suspended from the state’s vaccination program and the news left Gov. Mike DeWine “infuriated.”

“Tragically, we saw this huge waste,” DeWine said last Thursday. “These [vaccines] are precious, limited in supply. Each one has the capability of saving someone’s life.”

On Ohio’s vaccination dashboard, it reports that 682,705 people have started the vaccination process.

The state has been using a phased approach with vaccine supply limited. The available vaccines from manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna each require two doses to be effective, and the state typically learns on Sundays how much vaccine will be available for the upcoming week.

The program started with front-line healthcare workers and those in congregate-care settings such as nursing homes.

It has since expanded to include those 75 and older outside of nursing homes and those with certain medical disorders. And next week, the state will begin vaccinating school employees, with the goal of giving schools the option of reopening to full in-person instruction by March 1.

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