Fate struck a man in the supermarket bakery. Two others worked the night shift at a subway sandwich shop. Another was ripped from a list of 15,000 hopes.
With millions of Americans waiting for their chance to get the coronavirus vaccine, a few lucky ones face off as clinics struggle to get rid of extra, unsustainable doses at the end of the day.
It’s often about being in the right place at the right time.
Sometimes people who are just near a clinic at the time of closing are offered residual photos that would otherwise be discarded. Sometimes health professionals go out to look for recipients. Some places keep waiting lists and draw names at random. Such opportunities may become increasingly valued as shortages around the United States lead to some vacancy cancellations.
“One of the nurses said I had to go buy a lottery ticket right now,”
David Macmillan was grabbing ingredients for a coconut chickpea meal at the Giant grocery store in Washington when a woman in a lab coat from the store’s pharmacy approached him and his friend.
“I took two doses of Moderna vaccine. The pharmacy closes after 10 minutes. Do you want them? “Macmillan, 31, remembers the woman’s word. I thought, Let’s do it. “
After MacMillan posted a video of his experience at TikTok, the supermarket chain was flooded for days with calls and people hanging around, hoping to fire a shot.
It has become one of the most unusual oddities in the often uneven, one-month distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
After the vial has been thawed by deep-freezing, and even more so after the seal has been punctured and the first dose withdrawn, those administering the vaccine compete to consume it before it breaks down, even if it means taking pictures. to those who do not fit on the priority list.
While it’s disturbing to see 20 people being photographed while a 90-year-old woman in a nursing home is still waiting, public health experts say it’s better to put a dose in someone’s or someone’s hand than to take it. you throw away.
“As far as I’m concerned, vaccinate everyone except the dog,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University.
In New York, rumors that there were extra doses at the Brooklyn Army terminal rushed to the vaccine distribution site, leading to trafficking in armor on the streets and hundreds on the sidewalks, while police came out to say she had been deceived.
Mike Shot, 53, and his 72-year-old mother began appearing in pharmacies near their home in Hearst, Texas, hoping to get a leftover. Eventually, they put their names on the waiting list and called that photos could be available if they arrived within half an hour.
“We didn’t have to speed up, but it was pretty close,” Shot said. “I’m glad I got it.”
Nashville has launched its lottery system to avoid more random ways to distribute residual photos. In one case last month, the city’s health department eventually gave extra doses to two workers at a subway restaurant at a nearby hospital to keep them from going to waste.
Vaccine clinics expect only a few residual doses, at most, each day. Providers also note that the chances of shot remnants becoming available to the general public are declining with each passing week as vaccine eligibility expands beyond the very old residents of nursing homes and first-line health workers.
Waste is common in global inoculation campaigns, with millions of doses of influenza vaccine being thrown away each year. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization, more than half of all vaccines are discarded because they have been improperly processed, not sought after or have expired. The spread of coronavirus appears to have thwarted the trend.
Although no federal data is available, health authorities in various jurisdictions contacted by the Associated Press report very little waste other than a few notable cases of doses that have been accidentally or intentionally spoiled.
In Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, the health department said only three of the 87,750 doses, each accidentally spilled by staff, were wasted. In Ohio, officials reported that 165 of the 459,000 doses distributed last week were damaged or lost in transit, discarded due to non-arrival of vaccines or otherwise wasted. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Houston and other cities and states have all similarly reported small fractions of waste.
“It’s like gold at Fort Knox,” said Dr. Ramon Talay, whose medical network SOMOS administers the vaccine in New York.
Vaccine issuers choreograph a complex dance to ensure that they are handled properly. Pfizer vials contain five doses – and sometimes an extra dose – and Moderna contains 10. And clinics try their best not to open a new container unless they have been assigned a registered recipient to be inoculated.
At a clinic on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, Jill Price said that as the end of the day approached, if there seemed to be some doses left, calls would be made to those registered for vaccinations the next day to see if they could enter immediately.
“It’s such a valuable commodity that no one wants to waste it,” Price said.
Associated Press writer Christine M. Hall contributed from Nashville, Tennessee.