Because North Carolina was initially among the slowest countries to administer coronavirus vaccines, reporters raised questions about the effectiveness of its spread.
At a press conference on January 21, a reporter asked Secretary of Health and Social Services Mandy Cohen how many shots had been misused or lost.
“We as a country do not want to lose any vaccine. “We see a very small amount of vaccine waste registered in our CVMS system, but that’s very little, as with dozens of doses,” Cohen said.
Is the number of loot in North Carolina “very small”, even “in the tens?”
The State Department of Health says it receives on average reports of less than 10 spoiled doses per provider. However, the total number of spoiled doses is four, not two digits.
A day after Cohen’s briefing, the North Carolina Health Department told the Associated Press that a total of 1,280 doses had been discarded.
About the discrepancy
We asked the department about Cohen’s comments on Thursday. Did she describe the number 1280? Had she seen that particular figure of 1280?
Chris Mackie, the department’s communications director, said no.
Cohen had not seen the exact amount when she spoke at the January 21 briefing, Mackie said, because the department did not report the numbers until later. Cohen bases his comments on “one-time conversations” with other health officials.
“We prepared a report when someone asked us. Mandy didn’t have a number, “Mackie said in a telephone interview. “She was trying to say we hadn’t seen major incidents with vaccine waste.”
The 1,280 spoiled doses accounted for 0.1% of the state’s 1.1 million doses, the agency said in an email.
There are 250 health care providers who administer the shots, the email said, meaning losses are averaging up to about five doses per provider.
It’s hard to see how the numbers in North Carolina compare to other states.
The CDC has instructed states to report vaccine waste into their tracking system, agency spokeswoman Kristen Nordlund told PolitiFact. However, ProPublica reporters found that some countries do not track their spoiled doses.
“We are working to figure out how to provide this data online in the future when the data is more complete,” Nordlund said.
A 2019 World Health Organization report says vaccine waste is expected to be between 5% and 20% during mass vaccination campaigns.
Other countries have been reported to lose hundreds of doses in single accidents.
Wisconsin received national attention when authorities accused a local pharmacist of deliberately destroying about 500 doses of the vaccine.
In Massachusetts, NBC News reported that a veterans’ hospital lost 1,900 doses after a cleaning contractor accidentally unplugged the refrigerator. In Ohio, Columbus’ dispatcher reported that a pharmacy had ruined 890 doses and failed to store them properly. In another case, nearly 12,000 doses broke down on the way to Michigan after the truck became too cold.
Cohen said the health department received reports of “a very small amount of vaccine waste … but very little, as in dozens of doses.” A day later, the health department clarified Cohen’s remarks.
It is fair to say that the rate of spoilage of the vaccine is “very small” – one tenth of 1%. For Cohen, however, it was incorrect to say that their number was “in the tens.” The total number is 1280.
We estimate this statement to be half true.