Vaccine hunters are showing up at Virginia pharmacies in hopes of leftover doses

COVID-19 Vaccine

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.

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

Staff confirms word got out that they had leftover doses, after some people registered for an event failed to show up.  The pharmacy had ten extras. Once vials are opened, they are reportedly 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 a 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 said they rarely have any extra vaccine after a vaccination event.

Nurse Manager Amy Popovich said 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.”

The Virginia Department of Health provided this statement in response to an inquiry about these vaccine hunters.

“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.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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