More than $2 billion was wasted on unused Covid vaccines during the pandemic, according to data.
More than 300 million doses of four brands of vaccines – Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Novavax – have been thrown away or donated to other countries.
There are multiple reasons for the waste, including vaccine hesitancy and overspending by the US government.
But despite the numbers and declining demand, the World Health Organization has called for new Covid vaccines targeting mutated variants to be developed before this winter.
In total, there have been 308,707,265 unused Covid vaccines, costing US$2,268,256,118.81.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)596 million Pfizer Covid vaccines have been delivered to states through May 11. That includes both the original Pfizer vaccine and the updated Omicron booster.
But only 404 million have actually been administered, leaving 192 million unaccounted for.
And 355 million Moderna vaccines were delivered, including the updated booster, but only 253 million were deployed, leaving 102 million unused.
With federal purchases of Pfizer and Moderna Covid vaccines costing an average of $20.69 per dose according to the government analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundationthis equates to $2 billion.
About 12.5 million J&J doses remained, plus 1.3 million Novavax Covid injections.
The J&J shots cost $10 per dose, while the Novavax shots cost $16 each, totaling $1.5 million in unused vaccines from both drug companies.
In total, there have been 309 million unused Covid vaccines, costing the US about $2.3 billion.
Jeffrey Lazarus, a professor of global health at City University New York, told DailyMail.com, “At the height of the Covid pandemic, wasting vaccines was a tragedy given the effectiveness they offered against severe symptoms and death.
“Such wastage showed the lack of preparedness, coordination and effort the world has made to ensure high vaccine rates everywhere. Today, vaccine wastage is the result of overproduction combined with continued vaccine hesitancy.”
Edmund Haislmaier, senior research fellow at the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health and Welfare Policy, told DailyMail.com: ‘As with flu vaccines, if manufacturers and governments significantly overestimate demand, the result could be large quantities of unused vaccines. .’
The CDC told NBC news in June last year that between December 2020 and mid-May 2022, 82.1 million doses of Covid vaccine were thrown away by U.S. pharmacies, states, territories and federal agencies.
The vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna have an expiration date of 18 months.
But there are other reasons to throw away doses. A vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine often contains five to six doses, while a vial of Moderna vaccine contains up to ten.
Sometimes a new vial is opened for one vaccinated person, but if no one else is ready to receive the remaining doses, the remainder of the vial should be thrown away.
But vaccine hesitancy is becoming more common in the US.
Seventy percent of Americans — or 230 million people — received both doses of the original Covid vaccine, CDC data shows.
But only 17 percent of eligible Americans — or 56 million people — have signed up for the updated bivalent booster vaccine.
A CDC run questionnaire found that the main reasons people don’t get the bivalent booster was because of “perceived immunity” to the virus in addition to confusion over whether they were eligible.
A team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts from the University of Southern California used economic modeling to estimate the financial toll of the pandemic on the nation
The WHO said in March that healthy children and teens no covid vaccine needed and amid a declining uptake of updated shots.
Waste has become a theme as we look back at the pandemic in the US.
This week DailyMail.com reported how a team of economists, public policy researchers and other experts from the University of Southern California found that Covid has cost the US economy $14 trillion — with more to come.
The pandemic, which triggered once-unthinkable lockdowns and rocked the global economy, has killed more than 1.1 million Americans and hospitalized many more.
The researchers said the economic effects of the pandemic were “unprecedented” for the US.
Using data from the first two and a half years of the pandemic, the researchers predicted the magnitude of financial losses from Covid from January 2020 to December 2023.
They approached the lost revenue due to forced business closures and also considered the economic burden of behavioral changes, including avoidance of restaurants, theaters and other crowded places.
Absence from work and loss of turnover due to stopping shopping on foot, flights abroad and public gatherings had the most impact.
The industries most affected were airlines, which fell 58 percent, restaurants, which fell 27 percent, and health and social services, which fell 30 percent.
Fortunately, an explosion in online purchases, government financial aid packages and the shift to working from home kept some economic activity going.
Between 2020 and 2023, the cumulative net economic output of the US will be approximately $103 trillion.
Had Covid not happened, total GDP over those four years would have been $117 trillion.
The toll on US GDP is twice the impact of the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009.