In the coming weeks, Oklahoma may have to discard thousands of COVID vaccines that are all set to expire soon, said the state’s health department. Keith Reed, the deputy commissioner of the Oklahoma State Department of Health said expired vaccines have been identified in the inventory. With proper guidance and instructions from the CDC, the expired stock is being disposed of in an appropriate manner, said Reed,
Thousands of vaccines have already gone to waste and around 80,000 more vaccines of Johnson and Johnson will also be disposed of because the demand has dropped and the vaccines are about to expire. These expiring vaccine doses come in line with the fall in the number of vaccinations, averaging at a mere 4,500 per day, according to the data provided by the state health department.
In conversation with ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO, Reed said this decline is consistent and “concerning.” He also added how the state is far from the vaccination goals they had set to reach. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, only 42% of people in Oklahoma have gotten one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, whereas only 34% are fully vaccinated.
These numbers are far below the national average and the lowest among all states. Statistics obtained on Monday have shown that 51% of Americans have received one dose of the vaccine while 42% have been fully vaccinated.
With Oklahoma’s low figures, Reed remains uncertain of achieving Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of Americans fully vaccinated by July 4.“I have to be honest with you that, at this point, I do not see us getting close to that by July 4,” concluded Reed. However, this won’t stop Reed and his team from extending efforts to bridge this gap in the numbers.
Several other states are also embroiled in a situation similar to that of Oklahoma. Arkansas is facing a similar predicament, where approximately 70,000 vaccine doses of Pfizer are set to expire in June, said the health department official while talking to ABC News.