North Carolina has wasted 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Big data hopes to help | WFAE 90.7
North Carolina has wasted 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses.  Big data hopes to help |  WFAE 90.7

North Carolina has wasted 1.7 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Big data hopes to help | WFAE 90.7

Since COVID-19 vaccines became available, more than 1.7 million doses in North Carolina have been wasted.

About half have been spilled due to residual doses in an opened vial, and the other half because they reached an expiration date, according to data provided by the NC Department of Health and Human Services. Across the state, more than 16 million doses have been administered across the state.

Nationwide, 65 million COVID-19 vaccines have been spilled, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Doses should be kept very cold and it NC collaboration —A research and policy organization – has provided 63 freezers across the state with the goal of improving equitable vaccine distribution to underserved communities.

The collaboration is works with SAS to optimize the supply distribution. “The project monitored the impact of factors including temperature, humidity, vibrations during transport, opening and closing, storage duration and freezing capacity,” according to SAS.

Simply put: sensors in the storage freezers work like a smart refrigerator that warns you when you are missing eggs.

“Basically, intelligent alarms when the virus spread begins to exceed the vaccine supply in a particular region,” said Bobby Shkolnikov, rector of SAS’s Internet of Things unit. “And then the system can make recommendations on how to move supply to meet that demand.”

Sensors track the temperature and capacity of the freezer.

“Then track the number of vaccines to determine free space in each of the freezers,” he said.

Copyright 2022 North Carolina Public Radio. To see more, visit North Carolina Public Radio.


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