UK

Blunders cost £6million worth of vaccines to be wasted in one year

Blunders cost £6million worth of vaccines to be wasted in one year – including doses that were left outside of the fridge, figures show

  • More than £4million of stock vaccine losses in 2019 could have been avoided 
  • Vaccines not being kept at the right temperature were major cause of stock loss
  • Figures will raise concerns about distribution and storage of coronavirus jabs 

At least £5.8million worth of vaccines was wasted in just a year because of mistakes which included leaving doses out of the fridge.

Official figures show that £4.4million of stock losses in 2019 could have been avoided – with vaccines not being kept at the right temperature a major cause.

Around 8 per cent of avoidable cases involved a fridge door being left open, 6 per cent were because a fridge was switched off, and 5 per cent concerned stock left out of the fridge in error. 

At least £5.8million worth of vaccines was wasted in just a year because of mistakes which included leaving doses out of the fridge

Other avoidable reasons included excess stock being ordered by mistake and products being mislaid.

Public Health England, which compiled the figures, said the incidents were likely to be under-reported, with the true financial cost even greater. 

The losses were down on 2018 when £6.3million of vaccine stock was reported wasted, including £4.6million in avoidable incidents.

The wastage did not involve coronavirus vaccines, although the figures will raise concerns about the distribution and storage of the jabs, which are in short supply.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has to be kept at -70C, while the Oxford-AstraZeneca jabs can be stored at fridge temperature. Manufacturers are in a race to produce enough doses to quickly vaccinate those members of the population who are deemed to be the most vulnerable.

England’s chief medical officer has warned that vaccine shortages are expected to cause problems for several months.

In a letter also signed by the chief medical officers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Professor Chris Whitty said a lack of global supplies would probably hamper efforts to protect the nation.

The wastage did not involve coronavirus vaccines, although the figures will raise concerns about the distribution and storage of the jabs, which are in short supply [

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