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TDH: Nearly 1 in 25 COVID-19 vaccine doses are thrown out in Tennessee

The Tennessee Department of Health said it's mainly because supply continues to exceed demand.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Half of Tennesseans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to state data.

But as demand for the shot dwindles, more doses are going to waste.

"Supply continues to exceed demand, which is the main contributing factor to wastage," a spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Health said. 

As of September 13, the state health department said there were 188,395 wasted doses statewide. That's about 4% of doses delivered to Tennessee or nearly 1 in 25.

In Knox County, there have been 11,719 wasted doses, or about 3% of all delivered doses. TDH said that is on par with the statewide percentage.

"Wasted doses are not unique to Tennessee as we know that states across the country are experiencing similar vaccine waste, if not more in some states," TDH said in an email to 10News. "Vaccine providers across the state follow the clinical best practices for managing vaccine inventory while also not missing an opportunity to vaccinate an eligible recipient."

RELATED: LIST: Where can I get the COVID-19 vaccine in East Tennessee

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it recognizes that creating more opportunities for vaccination "may increase the likelihood of leaving unused doses in a vial."

All doses in a Moderna vial must be used within 12 hours, according to the CDC. The same is true within 6 hours for the Pfizer vials.

The Johnson & Johnson vials must be used within 2 hours at room temperature or within 6 hours at 2-8 degrees Celsius.

Providers are required to report all wasted doses.