JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The COVID-19 vaccines seem to be taking us closer to ending the pandemic. Reaching herd immunity and getting as many Americans as possible vaccinated is one goal for President Joe Biden's Administration.
But what happens when people don’t show up to their appointments to get the vaccine or maybe if there’s an extra dose leftover in the vial?
“Wasting a single dose is not an option, as long as our demand is out pacing our supply we can not waste a single dose," said Chief Medical Officer at UF Health Jacksonville, Dr. Chirag Patel.
Dr. Patel says most institutions have been sticking to the state’s mandate for vaccinating priority groups.
“There’s a mad scramble for trying to find someone who may be outside, who might be available via phone call to say hey can you be here for a certain amount of hours. If so I’ll have a dose available for you," said Dr. Patel.
Dr. Patel said the bigger challenge is what happens when a large supply of vaccines is going to expire?
“When we say expire that means they could’ve thawed from their freezing or frozen state to an unthawed state now the clock is ticking to get these vaccines used up," said Dr. Patel.
To make sure doses aren’t wasted Dr. Patel says some institutions follow a more strategic plan:
1) Identify your states prioritized vaccination groups
2) Coordinate with health officials, neighboring hospitals, and finding a standby list of patients
3) Have supplies and equipment in place in case of a time-sensitive situation.
“At the end of the day if the clock is ticking and there’s only a short of time to administer that vaccine before it quote on quote expires. You’ve got to find an arm to put it in and sometimes that’s going to fall outside of the vaccination group," said Dr. Patel.
Dr. Patel really encourages people to make sure they don’t miss their appointments and remember to get their vaccine.