Canada aims to keep COVID-19 vaccine waste below five per cent: PHAC

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OTTAWA — The Public Health Agency of Canada says it hopes to keep the number of wasted doses of COVID-19 vaccines in Canada under five per cent.

That would amount to 3.7 million of the 73.7 million vaccines that have been distributed to provinces and territories, used by the federal government or held in the central vaccine inventory as of Nov. 18.

The federal, provincial and territorial governments aim to keep vaccine wastage as low as possible.

The Public Health Agency of Canada would not release the total number of wasted doses to date, but a Canadian Press survey of provincial governments shows an average of about 2.6 per cent of distributed doses in responding jurisdictions have been discarded.

The government warns that as demand for COVID-19 vaccines slows down, there could be more wastage because new vials may have to be opened without every dose making it into someone's arm.

The government says it works with provinces and territories to make sure procurement of new vaccines align with their needs and helps facilitate the transfer of doses between provinces to minimize waste.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2021.

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press

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