Thousands of COVID-19 vaccines at risk of expiration in Michigan

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The push to get more needles in arms continues in the state of Michigan as thousands of doses are at risk of expiration.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that 262,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson are expiring in the next four weeks. Pfizer doses start expiring in September and Moderna doses start expiring a month later in October.

State health officials told News 8 they are working with the CDC to redistribute vaccines to other states that may be in need.

The state recently shipped some doses of the J&J vaccines to Minnesota.

On a county level, health departments are working to distribute vaccines anyway they can to avoid wasting them.

“We do have a lot in stock that will expire August 31,” said Toni Bulthuis, immunization team supervisor of the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. “I have about 6,800 in stock right now of Pfizer.”

While that number likely won’t remain the same by the end of August, that still leaves thousands unused. It also leaves health departments asking the question: Where do the vaccines go once deemed unusable?

Bulthuis says they currently don’t have guidance from MDHHS.

“Right now, we are being told that they are going to try and redistribute these vaccines. So, if pharmacies need them, doctors’ offices need them, they will come to us first so that we can use the vaccines in our freezers first,” said Bulthuis.

Once the vaccines do expire, they are immediately taken out of use.

In addition to the 6,800 Pfizer vaccines, Bulthuis tells News 8 around 600 J&J and 600 Moderna vaccines in Ottawa County are at risk of expiration in the coming months if not used.

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