States leaving hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses unordered, officials say

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Hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses have been left sitting on shelves as some states aren’t ordering all of the weekly shots allotted to them, The Washington Post reported April 10.

At one point during recent weeks, 13 states each had more than 100,000 unordered doses, a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity told the Post. 

Indiana, for example, had only ordered 90 percent of its allotted doses, leaving behind 306,000 doses. Texas had ordered 95 percent, with 673,000 shots on warehouse shelves. Even as Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer asked the federal goverment to send more vaccines to areas facing a surge in COVID-19 cases, the state appeared to have 360,000 unordered doses.

Currently, vaccine distribution is based on a state’s population, but in response to many states delaying the order of allocated doses, some federal officials are calling for an updated approach to vaccine allocation – one that is instead based on how quickly states are ordering and administering shots, according to the Post. Still, others argue the current population-based approach is the fairest.

State and local officials cited a range of reasons for not ordering all allocated doses, including staffing challenges, less demand and difficulty of matching first and second doses.

A spokesperson for Indiana’s health department told the Post that unordered doses had been “earmarked for businesses, higher education and local health department clinics that are set to start vaccinating in the coming days.”

To read the full Washington Post article, click here.

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