Horry County hospitals work to use COVID-19 vaccines before expiration dates

Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Horry County hospitals are racing to use their supply of vaccinations before they expire.

However, hospitals such as Conway Medical Center aren’t getting rid of expired vaccines just yet.

Because of previous extensions to vaccine expiration dates, doctors at the hospital said they’re holding on to their Pfizer vaccines after the Federal Food and Drug Administration extended the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to an additional six weeks.

“We will hold onto them until we’re instructed to do different,” said Paul Richardson, the medical official and vice president of medical education at Conway Medical Center.

With more than 1,100 Pfizer vaccines expiring over the weekend, Richardson said the hospital isn’t throwing away its vaccines just yet.

“We’re holding on to them because the FDA has in the past extended expiration dates on drugs like this, and so they very well may do that,” he said.

More than 17,000 Pfizer vaccine doses in South Carolina will expire at the end of August, according to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Richardson said part of that is from fewer people seeking out vaccines.

“We had seen a dramatic decline over that last several weeks, even a few months, unfortunately, and I really think that’s why we’re where we are today,” he said.

Although Conway Medical Center has given out 89% of the doses administered to it, Richardson said he’s frustrated that others may go to waste.

“To me, the take home message is to know that our numbers are rapidly increasing as far as admissions, and our percent positivity,” he said. “As a matter of fact, we’re on trajectory to be back where we were a year ago.”

Richardson said the hospital is willing to do what’s necessary to increase the amount of doses it’s administering and decrease the amount of vaccines that may go to waste.

“Our walk-in clinic is available right now,” he said. “As the demand necessitates, we are more than willing to open up and have more time available.”

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