A surprisingly small amount of vaccines have gone to waste under LSU's supervision, the Student Health Center reported.
Executive director of the LSU Student Health Center Julie Hupperich said that LSU has discarded only about 8%, or 365 doses, of the vaccines they've received from the government. Of the 30,647 students and employees that submitted proof of receiving the vaccine, only 4,500 received it directly from the university.
From May 22 to Sept. 22, the Student Health Center reported disposing of 102 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 213 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 50 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The vaccines are provided to LSU in vials that each contain a specific amount of doses. The Pfizer vaccine vials contain six doses, the Moderna vaccine vials contain 14 doses and the Johnson & Jonson vials contain five doses.
The increase in waste of the Moderna vaccine comes from the large vial size, due to the fact that once one dose is drawn, so there is a small window of time the vaccine must be administered or discarded.
Because the federal government provides the vaccines at no cost, and the Student Health Center does not charge an administration fee, the minimal waste LSU has experienced does not incur any cost to the university or student body. The Department of Health released guidance on May 21 that “providers will not be penalized by the state if some unavoidable wastage occurs.”
“We were pleased to receive the guidance when we did, when the demand began to wane,” Hupperich said. “We want to capitalize on every opportunity to vaccinate students in a timely and safe manner.”
After university President William F. Tate IV spoke with President Joe Biden at the White House on Sept. 15 about LSU's COVID-19 mitigation strategies, he told reporters that LSU's rate of vaccination is well on the way to having a nearly fully-vaccinated student and faculty body.
“The reality is, what we have done is nothing short of miraculous," Tate said.
Following those comments, 27 students were unenrolled from the university on Sept. 17 for not submitting proof of vaccination or COVID test results.
According to a waste report from the Louisiana Department of Health, the number of vaccines wasted in Louisiana is 160,082 as of Sept. 21.
The report indicated that 87,252 doses of the Moderna vaccine, 53,727 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 19,103 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have been wasted.
Communications strategist for LDH Kevin Litten said that “there is no cost to the state, provider or patient for a COVID-19 vaccine," and reaffirmed that there is no cost associated with vaccine waste for LSU or the state.
According to the Louisiana Department of Health COVID-19 vaccination dashboard, there have been a total of over 4.3 million doses administered in Louisiana.