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COVID-19 Vaccine Wastage Guidance

COVID-19 Vaccine Wastage Guidance

PDPH is asking providers to ensure vaccination for all eligible patients, even if it means leaving some doses unused or wasted. Here is some information to help you increase vaccination and manage wastage:

1. Prioritize vaccinating eligible persons. Providers should vaccinate any eligible persons who wish to receive vaccine at their clinic location, even if it means puncturing a multi-dose vial and potentially wasting doses.

2. Do not miss an opportunity to vaccinate. PDPH understands that some, or all remaining doses in the vial, may need to be wasted to vaccinate a person. Not missing an opportunity to vaccinate is the more important goal.

3. Follow best practices while managing vaccine inventory. While we want to continue to follow the best practices of using every dose possible, we do not want it to be at the expense of missing an opportunity to vaccinate every eligible person when they are ready to get vaccinated.

4. No penalties for wasting COVID-19 vaccine. We are expecting an increase in COVID-19 vaccine wastage as vaccination efforts progress and opportunities are not missed.

5. Download and use the CDC COVID-19 Vaccine Expiration Date Tracker. This tool helps your site keep track of vaccine wastage.

6. Download and use the Vaccine Wastage Guide. This tool details the vaccine wastage protocols for the Pfizer, Moderna, and Janssen COVID-19 Vaccines.

7. Use the wastage reporting table. This table (below) provides guidance to determine if a dose should be reported as waste. Wastage does not negatively impact a provider, but is simply a means for accounting for inventory.

8. Implement CDC and Idaho tips for not missing opportunities and reducing wastage. See detailed tips below. We can all learn by sharing best practices.

9. Call PDPH if you need help! PDPH is happy to help manage inventory and discuss strategies to minimize vaccine wastage. Contact

10. Don’t wait, vaccinate!

Wastage Reporting Table:

Below are CDC recommendations ensuring there are no missed opportunities to vaccinate every eligible person:

  • Consider establishing and promoting standing vaccination days or half-days to increase likelihood of larger numbers of people presenting for vaccination on the same day.
  • Vaccinate family members or friends who accompany patients to medical visits even if they are not established patients at the vaccinating practice
  • Continue outreach to employers or other community partners that have a large membership or network to arrange vaccination events.
  • As contingency plan, vaccine providers should attempt to contact additional persons (i.e., from a waitlist or through personal contacts of persons being vaccinated) to use as many vaccine doses as possible.
  • Once punctured, multidose vials must be used within:
    • 12 hours (Moderna)
    • 6 hours (Pfizer)
    • 2 hours (J&J/Janssen)
  • The more Americans who get vaccinated the fewer COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, outbreaks, and deaths that will occur.

For additional guidance on how to reduce wastage, please refer to the bullet points below written by the Idaho Immunization Program:

  • If feasible, prepare a Standby List strategy appropriate to your setting and the function of your site. “Standby lists” identify, in advance, people who are wanting to receive vaccine at your site.
  • Review your patient lists for those who may not have been vaccinated, and/or ask those who present for care if they are willing to be on waitlists.
  • If available, utilize your local COVID-19 Vaccine Pre-registration System to locate additional residents in your area who are willing to be on waitlist. These pre-registration systems were established by localities to identify people who wanted to be vaccinated. People would enter their name and contact information to receive a vaccine at a future date.
  • Review daily the clinic/appointment schedule to determine if it matches available vaccine inventory.
  • As a clinic or appointment day progresses, monitor no-shows and extra doses to anticipate potential need/ability to reach additional people.
  • Determine time of day that is appropriate for your site to activate the Standby List strategy.
  • Use the Standby List to call people who may be able to arrive at the administration site before the end of your vaccination clinic.
  • If individuals with future appointments are rescheduled for the end of the day, republish those future appointments as available by the end of the day.
  • For vaccines administered to standby patients, sites should use relevant registration and reporting mechanisms as well as ensure that second dose appointments are scheduled for the appropriate timeframe at the same location

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy from COVID-19.
If you have any questions, please email