INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana health officials have counted about 62,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines being tossed out in recent months as the number of people seeking the shots has fallen drastically.
That is a small portion of the some 6 million vaccine shots that have been given in Indiana since they first became available in December, but a sign of the struggle that officials face in raising the state’s vaccination rate.
The state health department said vaccine doses can go unused by reaching their expiration date or a vial breaking. The department said it was continuing to encourage those giving shots to use soon-to-expire vaccine first to minimize any waste.
States across the country have been trying to salvage expiring shots amid the summer surge in infections tied to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
About 45 percent of Indiana residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the 16th lowest rate among the states, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Indiana’s vaccination rate has fallen from about 50,000 a day in April to about 10,000 a day in recent weeks. The state health department reported Indiana hospitals were treating 1,654 COVID-19 patients on Wednesday — quadruple the number from mid-July.