Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Federal funding for COVID-19 vaccines is running out. The government has footed the bill since the vaccines became available in late 2020. Once it steps away, COVID vaccination will be privatized. Doctors will have to pay for the vaccine doses upfront and hope that they make their money back.
That will be an especially difficult challenge for pediatricians because of the way kids’ vaccine is packaged, the variety of COVID shots pediatricians give to different age groups and the COVID vaccine’s extremely short shelf life.
Dr. Sandy Chung was getting ready to vaccinate a 4-year-old at Fairfax Pediatric Associates, her practice in Northern Virginia. Standing in a lab with vaccine freezers brushing the ceiling, Chung took out a tiny vial of the Pfizer vaccine and squinted at it.
“This vial that we have here has 10 doses in it,” she explained. By the end of the day, Chung’s practice administered 48 doses of COVID vaccine and threw out 62.
“The way it works is that once we open a vial, though, it’s only good for a few hours, and then we have to throw the rest away,” she said.
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