CVS and Walgreens wasted more COVID-19 vaccines than most states combined

Two major U.S. pharmacies are responsible for wasting thousands of COVID-19 vaccine doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

CVS and Walgreens accounted for 70% of wasted vaccines in the country, nearly 128,500 shots, according to government data obtained by Kaiser Health News. The CDC reported 182,874 shots were wasted through the end of March.

CVS accounted for around 49% of shots wasted while Walgreens accounted for 21%, the data shows. 

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The vaccines wasted from pharmacies surpassed the number of shots wasted from all of the U.S. states combined. Indeed, states and major cities made up just 23.3% of wasted COVID-19 vaccines while federal agencies accounted for only 1.54% of unused vaccines, according to the Daily News. 

The Pfizer vaccine, the first vaccine to become available in the U.S., accounted for the most wasted vaccine dosages making up 60% of shots that were thrown out. 

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CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis told KHN in an email that wasted doses were a result of "issues with transportation restrictions, limitations on redirecting unused doses, and other factors." 

Storage and temperature issues were the major reason why so many vaccines went to waste. COVID-19 vaccines must be stored in cold temperatures and become unusable when sitting out for too long.