SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is your vaccine authority.
Western Mass News has learned more than 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been thrown away since the rollout began.
State officials said there have been just over 1,200 wasted doses of the vaccine. One local expert said the state should have better vaccine rollout guidelines so shots don't get thrown out.
“It’s really upsetting and very unfortunate that that’s happening,” Western New England Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Immunology Clinton Mathias said.
The Massachusetts Department of Health said exactly 1,204 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been wasted across the Bay State so far during the state’s vaccine rollout.
“These vaccines come in multi vials, and because they’re mRNA vaccines they need to be stored in very low temperatures,” Mathias explained.
Mathias said once the doses are taken out of their freezer storage, they can't survive for long.
“They have a shelf life of about six hours,” Mathias said.
Mathias said the vaccines come in packages. The Moderna vaccine has 10 doses per box, where Pfizer has five doses in a container.
He said that's what makes it somewhat inevitable for doses to be thrown away. There can be leftover vaccines from a box but no remaining appointments at vaccination sites.
He said compared to the more than one million Massachusetts residents who have gotten a shot, the wasted doses are a small percentage but it is still a frustrating number for people still patiently waiting for their turn.
“For the general public, it’s still upsetting, especially for many people who are at high risk and who do want to get these vaccines as soon as possible,” Mathias added.
He said he thinks the state needs better plans.
“I think it might help if there are better guidelines in place to help all the vaccine distribution sites,” Mathias said.
Western Mass News reached out to Governor Charlie Baker's office but is still waiting for a response.