People getting vaccinated by doses that would otherwise go to waste

As of Friday, 16 percent of Ohioans have gotten at least one dose of a Covid vaccine. Meanwhile, a new Pew Research Center survey shows 69 percent of Americans said they have been or plan to get the shot.

While there is higher demand than supply for the vaccine doses, pharmacies and health departments have had to come up with ways to make sure the shots do not go to waste.

When vials of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines come out of the freezer, there are only two places they can go, in an arm or in the trash.

“Once it’s been dethawed and exposed like that, it cannot sit out,” Dan Suffoleto the public information supervisor for Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County said.

His agency carefully counts people who come in to the clinics to determine how many vials to pull out of the freezer. When there are extra dethawed doses they go to volunteers and employees.

“We want to make sure that everything is used,” Suffoletto said.

Greene County Public Health shares the same goal. The department calls its list of eligible people registered for the vaccine who haven’t been able to get an appointment to take extra doses. It is also sending them to homebound people and nursing home staff.

“Every vaccine that we get in, we’re putting in somebody’s arm, and that’s what’s most important, so we can see that light at the end of the tunnel,” Laurie Fox, the public information officer for Greene County Public Health said.

Pharmacies have also had to figure out how to utilize extra doses.

Samantha Moser’s fiancé called around to pharmacies in the area to get on a call list, in case there were extra doses at the end of the day. She said he got on a West Carrollton Walgreen’s list last Thursday and got the call on Tuesday. However, he had her get the shot instead of him.

Now that she has had the first shot, she is signed up for her second.

“I do feel a little guilty having the dose, but I feel a lot better knowing that dose didn’t get thrown away, because it had to be out of the freezer for so long,” Moser said.

Now, she is looking forward to having some protection from the virus.

“We’re getting married in a couple of months, and I would love to hug my grandma,” Moser said.