San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)
Fortunate few find rare extra vaccines
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.