PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — One Philadelphia-based health team says they’ve been forced to throw out unused COVID vaccines. The move follows a new policy change from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Philadelphia Department of Health.
The medical director Eyewitness News spoke with says she had to throw away six doses that one week ago would have gone into the arms of six more people. This comes at a time when so many are still struggling to get their potentially life-saving shot.READ MORE: Investigation Underway After Rabid Dog Imported From Middle East Ends Up In Chester County
“You’re literally talking about a decision not to protect people in doing this,” said Dr. Nancy Brisbon.
In an email received late Friday, Mazzoni Center Medical Director Dr. Brisbon says the Philadelphia Department of Health, following CDC guidelines, is now requiring all vaccine providers to throw away extra doses of the COVID vaccine received in a vile — 10 for Moderna, which Mazzoni has been using, six for Pfizer and five for Johnson & Johnson.
The email forwarded to CBS3, reads: “Per the CDC, the practice of pulling extra doses should be discontinued effective immediately.”
“Yesterday, we had to very regretfully say goodbye to about five or six doses,” Dr. Brisbon said.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Restaurant & Lodging Association Launches Vaccination Initiative Targeting Hospitality Workers
According to a statement from a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Health, “The policy has changed because it is not always possible to get extra doses of vaccine from vials…”
“Ultimately, that leads to shortages of syringes or other problems whereas it may seem to help for that one patient, in the long run, it may hurt you,” said city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley.
“We’ve been doing this for weeks now, the scheduling has not been a problem, we have not run into not having enough vaccine,” Dr. Brisbon said.
For that, the health department says, “Dr. Farley has said a number of times recently that the biggest problem we face at this point is not a scarcity of doses, but a scarcity of places to administer them. By ensuring that we are able to safely and correctly provide everyone with a required second dose, we can ensure that there isn’t a mad scramble for doses in three weeks.”
Dr. Brisbon says she wants the CDC and the city to reconsider this policy, noting how quickly the math adds up if every provider is throwing away multiple doses every single day.MORE NEWS: Police: 17-Year-Old Shot In Head, Killed In Southwest Philadelphia
CBS3’s Alicia Roberts reports.