Per a report from NBC News on Monday citing data from the CDC, 82.1 million doses—or a little more than 11 percent of the doses distributed by the government—were “discarded” between December 2020 and the middle of last month. CVS alone is reported to have discarded nearly 11.8 million doses, while Walmart is said to have wasted around 10 million doses. Walgreens, another widely used vaccine provider, discarded an estimated 8.3 million doses.
While a number of reasons are pointed to in the report, which also notes that these numbers are on par predictions from the World Health Organization, health authorities argue the confirmed wasting of tens of millions of doses is a sign of how—in many ways—efforts to achieve widespread vaccination in response to the global pandemic have often fallen short.
In May, COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. topped one million, marking the latest in a series of grim milestones for the country’s pandemic response.
“One million COVID deaths, one million empty chairs around the family dinner table—each irreplaceable,” President Joe Biden said of the milestone during his Global COVID-19 Summit speech last month. “Irreplaceable losses, each leaving behind a family, a community forever changed because of this pandemic. … It’s grief shared by people across all of our nations.”