NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines sent to the state have been wasted since the vaccine rollout, according to information obtained from the Tennessee Department of Health.

The Department of Health said 188,395 doses of the vaccine have been tossed out as of Sept. 13, mostly because the dosage expired. That’s nearly 4% of the total doses received in the state.

“I wish people would be getting shots in their arms and not letting that wonderful tool go to waste,” said Dr. Katrina Green, a local emergency room physician.

Green has been on the frontlines since the beginning of the pandemic. She said even though that number overall is minimal, she strongly believes each dose matters.

“That’s 4% of some people that could have the protection that could not be in our hospitals right now. That’s 4% could be some of the deaths that we’ve seen,” said Green.

Currently more than 3 million Tennesseans are fully vaccinated. At least 51% of the state’s population has gotten at least one dose.

“You see other countries that barely have 5% of their population vaccinated and they would love to have those doses, and the fact that we are being wasteful with a precious resource that saves lives and throwing it out, it’s just so disheartening as a medical professional,” said Green.

While Green understands everyone is not able to get the vaccine, unlike children under the age of 12 and those faced with medical conditions, she said that’s not the majority of the number of people unvaccinated.

“You know there are unnecessary deaths every day that are happening in this state in people who are not vaccinated and it’s just heartbreaking to see those numbers continue as they are,” said Green.

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