San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

For­tu­nate few find rare ex­tra vac­cines

- Vaccines · Medical Treatments · United States of America · Nashville · Washington

With mil­lions of Amer­i­cans wait­ing for their chance to get the coronaviru­s vaccine, a lucky few are get­ting bumped to the front of the line as clin­ics scram­ble to get rid of ex­tra, per­ish­able doses at the end of the day.

It is of­ten a mat­ter of be­ing in the right place at the right time. Some­times peo­ple who just hap­pen to be near a clinic at clos­ing time are of­fered leftover shots that would oth­er­wise be thrown away. Some­times health work­ers go out look­ing for re­cip­i­ents. Some places keep wait­ing lists and draw names at ran­dom. Such op­por­tu­ni­ties may be be­com­ing more prized as short­ages around the U.S. lead some places to can­cel vac­ci­na­tions.

“One of the nurses said I should go buy a lot­tery ticket right now,” said Jesse Robin­son, out­side a Nash­ville clinic last week where the 22­year­old was picked from a 15,000­name list for a shot. “I’m not go­ing to ques­tion it too much. Just glad it was me.” David MacMil­lan was grab­bing in­gre­di­ents for a meal at a gro­cery store in Washington when a woman in a lab coat from the in­store phar­macy came up to him and his friend.

“I got two doses of the Moderna vaccine. The phar­macy is clos­ing in 10 min­utes. Do you want

them?” MacMil­lan, 31, re­called the woman say­ing. “I thought, ‘Let’s go for it.’ ”

Af­ter MacMil­lan posted a video of his ex­pe­ri­ence on TikTok, the su­per­mar­ket chain was in­un­dated for days with calls and peo­ple hang­ing around, hop­ing to score a shot.

It has be­come one of the most un­usual quirks in the of­ten un­even, month­long roll­out of the COVID­19 vac­cines.

Once a vial is thawed from the deep freeze and, even more so, once its seal is punc­tured and the first dose is drawn, those ad­min­is­ter­ing the vaccine are in a race to use it up be­fore it spoils, even if it means giv­ing shots to those who don’t fit into the pri­or­ity list.

Health ex­perts say get­ting a dose into some­one’s arm, any­one’s arm, is bet­ter than throw­ing it away.

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