Allegations of unused COVID-19 vaccines being thrown away are prompting outrage.
This comes as TMZ reported last week that a Southern California clinic tossed 150 unused vials "that were about to spoil." TMZ explained in its report that a large number of people with appointments at the said clinic wound up being no-shows, leaving the clinic with the unused vaccines.
The allegations prompted Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn to demand answers.
"Any stories I hear of unused doses -- when we don't have enough to begin with -- is really disheartening and shocking," Hahn said.
"This is outrageous," TMZ's Harvey Levin told FOX 11's Elex Michaelson during the 7 p.m. Special Report.
On Thursday, LA County Public Health issued a statement denying that the county instructs clinics to throw away the unused vaccines.
Levin blames Los Angeles County Health Department's unclear guidelines on vaccine rollouts for leaving the clinics with unused doses. According to the county's guidelines, only those included in the priority list -- which includes health care workers and nursing home residents/staff -- are eligible to receive the vaccines.
LA County Public Health said in the statement there are exceptions to the county's vaccine priority list, a fine print that leaves Levin demanding clarity.
"What exceptions? They never defined the exceptions. They never say 'can a person 30 years old stand in line?'" Levin told FOX 11.
Below is a statement released by LA County Public Health:
"The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health does not condone wasting of any precious vaccine doses and has not and is not directing providers to throw away unused doses. In fact, we have moved swiftly to set up vaccine clinics on quick turnaround whenever we have learned of potential vaccine expirations.
Although the priority now is to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers and residents in long-term health facilities, Los Angeles County has allowed for exceptions in the vaccination plan to be made in order to prevent any vaccine wastage, as is detailed on page 8 of the department’s guidance.
The Department of Public Health will investigate any reports of vaccine waste or misuse. Anyone with information about waste or misuse should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Los Angeles County is committed to vaccinating every resident who wants to be protected from this deadly virus and is working with hundreds of partners to ramp up operations for mass vaccination distribution to eligible groups of residents.
For up-to-date information, visit VaccinateLACounty.com"