Several state health departments told STAT they have repeatedly asked the federal government to redistribute their supply to other countries, many of which are facing a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Officials in Washington have rejected those requests, citing legal and logistical challenges.
“We’re drowning in this stuff,” said Robert Ator, a retired colonel in the Arkansas Air National Guard who is leading that state’s Covid-19 vaccine distribution drive. “It’s starting to get a bit silly and we want to make sure we’re being good stewards.”
Some of the wastage could be forestalled if U.S. health officials extend the shelf life of the vaccine developed by Pfizer, but such expiration dates can only be extended so far.