Vaccine hunters show up at local pharmacies in hopes of leftover doses

Coronavirus

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Some people are now scouring the internet on the hunt for vaccine events and possible extra doses. They then show up at local pharmacies hoping to score a shot.

It happened last weekend at Midlothian Apothecary in Chesterfield County. 150 people gathered at the pharmacy.

Staff confirms to 8News word got out that they had leftover doses after some people registered for an event failed to show up.  The pharmacy had ten extras. We’re told already opened vials are good for only six hours. So, rather than lose it, they used it.

Meanwhile Doctor Tana Kaefer with Bremo Pharmacy in Henrico says they’ve put precautions in place to prevent a crowd of vaccine hunters outside their door.

She said, “We didn’t want people just showing up at the pharmacy.” Bremo has a place on their website where people can register for extra does. “So we have a list that we pull from,” she said.

We are told if there looks like there’s an extra vaccine, those on the list are called. If they don’t answer, it’s on to the next person. And so no one is cutting in line, so to speak, they’ve set guideline for extras.

“The extra dose list is for only for those over 65,” said Dr. Kaefer.

Hope Pharmacy in Richmond along with the Richmond-Henrico Health District tells us they rarely have any extra vaccine after a vaccination event.

Nurse Manager Amy Popovich says all doses and appointments are monitored and they use a list too. She said, “Our recommendation is to not try to drive around or show up at events but to do the interest form.”

8News asked the Virginia Department of Health about these vaccine hunters. We were told in a statement:

“The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) aims to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is distributed equitably and to those who need it most. We acknowledge that when the vaccine is provided to facilities across the Commonwealth, VDH cannot maintain full control over how the doses are distributed. VDH continues to encourage our health care partners to follow Virginia’s recommended COVID-19 Vaccination Prioritization Guidance. Additionally, we request that healthcare partners balance following these guidance while also preventing wastage of vaccines. It is better for vaccines to be administered to someone not strictly “eligible” than for it to be wasted.”

We have also been told 10 extras is lot of leftover vaccine. We’re told typically it’s just one or two leftover doses, if any, following a vaccination event.

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