Vaccine hunting for leftover shots that would otherwise go to waste can work, but it’s not recommended

MIAMI – Vaccination sites across South Florida don’t want to waste leftover shots that don’t get used by the end of the day.

Because they have to be stored at a certain temperature, they would have to be discarded if not administered by the end of the day.

There is so much demand for the vaccines that it’s no secret that people have been hunting for extra doses since shots started being passed out.

Greg Reynolds isn’t high-risk and he’s not 65 or older either.

But, this week, he got his first dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.

“When they were putting the needle in I was starting to tear up because it was just, I couldn’t express what this meant to my life,” Reynolds said. “By the time I arrived there was no waitlist, no one waiting in line and it just so happened a person who was over 65 walked up, they went in, opened up a vial and there was no one else to take it.”

Reynolds, like so many others, received a leftover vaccine dose, one that would have gone to waste because there were no more people at the vaccination site within the priority group.

Katherine Quirk and Russ Schwartz run a Facebook page with reliable vaccine information that has more than 30,000 members.

They explained that so far, for people trying this method, it’s been hit or miss.

“Having an appointment is definitely the best way to go but if you have all day and you want to go wait someplace and see, that’s up to you,” Quirk said.

“It’s random success for sure and we always tell people if they have a personal experience, they’re welcome to share it on our page,” added Schwartz. “But we don’t promote that because we don’t want people to go there and then be turned away.”

As for whether or not these sites are intentionally doing this, most places told Local 10 News they take steps to carefully minimize the leftover vaccine at the end of the day, and that they try to find people within the priority groups first, before giving it to others.

But sometimes it’s unavoidable, so they don’t go to waste.

Most places did not want to speak to Local 10 on the record about this sort “vaccine hunting,” because they don’t want people swarming vaccination sites every day.

However, for the most part, it seems it is up to the discretion of the people running the sites as to what they will do with leftover doses at the end of the day.

One thing that seems apparent is that big sites, places like Hard Rock Stadium, will not have extra doses and have turned away countless people.


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