CEO of Health Center Explains Why COVID Vaccine Doses Had to Be Thrown Out

Because 10 doses of coronavirus vaccine come in a vial from Moderna, workers at Brockton Neighborhood Health Center not showing up to be inoculated meant some could not be used

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As millions of people wait to receive coronavirus vaccines, a Massachusetts health center had to dispose of some of its doses.

The CEO of the Brockton Neighborhood Health Center says doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were thrown away on Christmas Eve while they were vaccinating health care workers, due to some of those workers not showing up for their inoculations.

There are 10 doses of the vaccine in a Moderna vial, and not all of them were used.

"We weren't expecting any no-shows, but we did have a couple, so we did end up, at the end of the day, with a partial vial," said Brockton Neighborhood Health Center CEO Sue Joss.

Once thawed, that vial can only be used for a short time.

"Since the vial is only good for six hours after we start using it, there was no way we could put it in your fridge like we do the other vaccines and just use it in the morning," Joss said. "There was just no way to salvage the remaining doses."

She believes fewer than nine doses were wasted.

"This vaccine is so valuable to us, we're just doing everything we can to protect the doses, so we immediately, next day, lined up a list of people who would come in last minute to get vaccinated if we ended up having a no-show," she said.

She says they're now booking patients in groups of 10, and they have a wait list of people ready to come in if someone doesn't show.

She believes most medical facilities are dealing with this challenge.

Joss says the vaccine is too precious to waste, and they haven't wasted any since then.

"For our staff, that vaccine is just like gold. They're protecting it like nothing else," said Joss. "And yet, I think, at the same time, just by the fragility of the vaccine, I think it's probably, it's probably going to happen here and there."

So far, they've vaccinated about 250 health care workers and staff at the homeless shelter.

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