CA has more than 3.2M doses of COVID-19 vaccine, but data shows only 40% have been used

ABC7's analysis found more than 1.9 million doses are waiting in freezers across the state - one of the worst distribution backlogs seen across the country.
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- More than 3.2 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been shipped to county health departments across the state of California. Yet, only 40% have been used, according to state data last updated Sunday night.

That's up from 31% reported a week ago.

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"The facts are the facts," said Mike Wasserman, who sits on the state's vaccine advisory committee. "There's a large number of vaccines that have yet to be put in the arms of nursing home staff and residents."

ABC7's analysis found more than 1.9 million doses are waiting in freezers across the state - one of the worst distribution backlogs seen across the country.



The Governor tweeted Monday California has "administered more vaccines than any other state, getting 40 percent of our doses out and into the arms of our healthcare workers."

California has received more vaccine doses than any other state, so it's expected the state administers the most.

According to ABC7's analysis of data released from the Centers for Disease Control, California ranks 45th behind Wisconsin, North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and Nevada when it comes to the number of vaccine doses administered per 100,000 people.

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"From your perspective, what do you think is driving the backlog now?" ABC7's Stephanie Sierra asked.

"It appears a lot of the outstanding vaccines that are still not being used are vaccines that were meant for those high-risk people, and they haven't gotten to them," Wasserman.

According to data released by CVS Pharmacy and analyzed by ABC7, only 5% of assisted living and other long-term care facilities have received the first vaccine dose. That leaves 13,776 other vulnerable, high-risk, communities across the state that have yet to be vaccinated through CVS, including 17 skilled-nursing facilities.

"I don't think the state has a lot of clarity in terms of how much vaccine their getting from the federal government," Wasserman said.

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ABC7 spoke to Deepak Sisodiya, the Director of Pharmacy Services at Stanford Healthcare.

"If California stays at the current distribution pace, could some of the 1.9 million doses stuck waiting in freezers go to waste?" Sierra asked.

"I don't believe so," Sisodiya said. "For both Pfizer and Moderna, once the dose is off the production line, the vaccine has a six-month life in freezer storage."

Sisodiya says finding storage that accommodates specific temperature requirements for both Pfizer and Moderna doses could be contributing to the backlog.

"It's hard to get the necessary freezers and chain of custody processes for these temperature requirements, that takes time," he said.

The Governor said the state will administer one million vaccines within 10 days - that period ended Sunday night. According to ABC7's vaccine tracker, the goal fell more than 282,000 doses short.

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